The Power of Pause

This is a time to pause as the decisions that are made at this time will have a ripple effect on education, children & families for years to come. Every day is a PD day. #myPDtoday

The dramatic pause is a hallmark of film, tv, stage, and radio drama. That moment when everyone knows that there is something extremely important going to happen. A main character must make a decision that often determines their fate or the fate of someone else.  

The Pause – One of my favourite pauses is in Star Wars when Luke, after defeating Darth Vader is faced with killing him, allowing his hate to control him or deciding to follow the light and follow the good. The pause. He stops. Looking down at his father. His gloved hand.Intense. Just writing about that moment I’m holding my breath. I know what he does and yet, that moment still can make me …pause.

The Educational Race – Education, it seems, is unaware of this need for a pause. In frantic, unending movement, there appears to be no time to pause. Summers, which use to be when there was time to pause between the frenzied activity of spring seeding and planting and the equally crazy fall harvest period, is now filled with unending summer conferences where, if you listen to the hype of all those who are promoting their books and banners, there is no time for teachers to pause if they are, in fact, dedicated to their students, their work, their life as teachers. School districts ‘encourage’ teachers to hone their skills and learn about the latest ’thing’, which seems to be whatever the publishers and educational promoters have decided needs to be next. EdTech companies use the summer to introduce new apps, extension, skills, levels, badges, and course teachers can add to their constantly growing litany of achievements. 

There is no time to pause. 

And when teachers DO take time, the guilt mongers are all over them – How could they NOT be working all the time? The success of the children depends on the unending servitude of always working. In fact, I would suggest that technology has, in many ways, made it harder for teachers to pause. Too many educational speakers, thinkers, and gurus are out there telling them that, to pause, is to lose time that is necessary for the success and future of their students. There is no time to rest. But in doing so, we are forgoing not only the time to pause but the time to reflect and ponder. To take time to imagine a different future. Lost is the time to reflect and question if all that is being done in the name of learning and education is really what is good for learning and education. Is what we are being sold worth the time we are giving up for our own time to ReNew, ReFocus and ReCharge. From what I have observed, what we lose is far greater than any small steps forward we gain. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about continual learning. My whole premise for what I do and for this blog is that learning can take place every day in so many ways. “Every day is a PD day” is something that I believe is essential. It is something, I believe, we need to rethink in education. Learning isn’t limited to certain days or activities but, in fact, is all around us in so many different ways. It can happen exactly when we need it because it is available. But, I also believe that people need to take time to pause. To rest. To not work. To not be involved and worried about what is next. Their mental health, physical health, and spiritual health require time away. It requires time for each person to ReNew, ReFocus, and ReCharge. This is essential for the success of all involved in education and in life. The ability to pause in order to reflect and grow is as important as being able to access professional/personal learning whenever one needs it.

 Education – It is Time to Pause Luke, at that moment, looks down at this hand, his father. He has a choice to make. 

He PAUSES. 

He doesn’t rush around trying to figure out what to do or where he needs to go. He doesn’t go after the emperor. He doesn’t see if there is a conference being put on with a speaker who once was a Jedi but has now turned to deliver motivational speaking cloaked as professional learning. He doesn’t check to see what the gurus are saying about what he needs to do as a Jedi in order to be a better Jedi. 

He PAUSES.

He takes time to consider his decision. And in that moment, his fate is in the balance. I’m not sure the fate of education is in the balance. However, I would suggest that the frenzied rushing around isn’t helping with making a decision that is best for students, parents, teachers, and schools. There are more and more parents that are expressing frustration at this time as their entire worlds are turned upside down. 

I’ve seen a number of people post similar reactions. Even a number of teachers.

People continue to treat this as an educational crisis when in fact it is a medical crisis. This is a time to pause because the decisions that are made are not just about the next few months or the upcoming school year but will have a ripple effect on children and families for years to come. We are in a medical crisis which is causing all sorts of uncertainty. Let us focus first on this. 

The Never-Ending School Year – Education has become one never-ending year that doesn’t take time to pause. Even students are being required to ‘continue the learning’, we wouldn’t want the dreaded summer slide. One school year blurs into another until childhood is suddenly over. Right now we have an opportunity to pause. To take a moment to consider what will be. 

Will we take that moment and consider what is the next step? 

To resist the darkness, throw down our lightsabers and stand up. 

Or, will we miss this moment totally because we are too busy trying to do something to make it look like we are doing something because people who have been telling us we need to keep busy are telling us we need to do something and try something in a never-ending run-on sentence which has lost its meaning long ago.

I do hope, that in this moment, we decide to pause. To stand up. Throwdown our lightsabers and resist the darkness. We all know that, in fact, Luke’s decision didn’t just save him but also saved his father from the darkness. But it didn’t come without pain and a chance that his decision was wrong. It required he withstand the pain of making his decision but, because he didn’t rush forward but took time to pause, he eventually brought balance back to the universe. 

Luke understood the immense importance of his decision. 

Maybe it’s time to pause – to resist the temptation to rush forward – to take time to ReNew ReFocus ReCharge.

I do hope we are able to resist the educational urge to look busy constantly doing something. 

And PAUSE.

It just might be the best thing we do.