I've been thinking about gravitational pull in emotional ways. What pulls us to be passionate about the things we love? Does the slowing of time have a negative or positive connotation?
Some teachers cover their clocks. I understand why. Certainly clock-watching can be a distraction. The way a student counts down to the end of class can feel insulting, but it is also revealing.
How are we moving them beyond the slow tick of understanding into a kind of purgatory of boredom, or worse, confusion?
There are so many buzzwords in education. Acronyms for days. I do like the word engagement, though.
I believe student engagement is related to time.
When a student is engaged, he or she begins to move beyond external measurement. There is an element of surprise--or even regret at the sound of the bell. Time has gone missing during the act of learning.
The further away an object is to the source of gravity, the faster time moves.
I have found that on a good day of teaching or writing, the day speeds by. Recently, I sat down to write in the morning. When I looked up from my work, I intended to make breakfast. It was after 2 pm.
Good teaching days fly by as well usually leaving me energized and fulfilled in ways that are difficult to articulate.
I think the pursuit of understanding something--the further away "it" is--or the harder something is to grasp, doesn't impact the time of learning as much as how we pursue the thing. Still, even when we present engaging pathways to learning, if an internal pull is missing, time might just be immoveable for some.
Maybe the trick is to help motivate a pull to content?
Maybe that is impossible.
And maybe that is what we are called to do as teachers.
I'm not sure. Nor am I a scientist, but I have experienced learning and productivity that were so deeply balanced--so deliciously slow and fast moving all at once.
Like a perfect meal--equal parts savored and devoured. The school year begins in one week--time to get cooking.