Updates & Focusing

This semester has gone by with such intensity that it is difficult to recall all that has transpired, and it's not quite over yet. I have been switching modes from secondary school pedagogy, to my dissertation work, to family time, to grading papers, and then back around to start the cycle all over again. Fortunately, nearly all the people in my many settings have been nothing short of a pleasure to be around. 

Midway through this semester, the election through everyone I know into quite an emotionally turbulent time. Students, faculty, and family on either side of matters have had a lot to express. Hopefully, we will all listen as much as we speak. For if there is one thing that the past few months seem to have made abundantly clear, it's that many of us are doing a very poor job at listening to others. With the tumult of the election dying down slightly (though many important struggles just beginning to take shape) and the end of the semester in sight, I realize I have both intentionally and haphazardly accomplished something I had wanted to do prior to the start of this school year—focus.

I have a lot going on and I enjoy all of it, but of course days are of limited time and something has to give when there is so much to do. After reading a great pedagogical book by Mike Schmoker titled FOCUS: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning, I began to recognize just how much a few common habits distract and detract from some of my larger and more important goals. Better organization was certainly something I had to tackle but so too was honing in on what was really important, what activities were going to provide me with the kind of growth I was looking for long-term. Social media started to reveal itself to be a clear thief of time and I recalled back to earlier years when I used the internet with greater intention, spent more time with books than with "feeds", and when the term "friend" meant much more than it does on Facebook. In any event, it felt like it was a good time to depart the social media spaces once again and I'm glad I have done it. It's been a nice breath of fresh air that helps me exit the echo chamber, work with greater focus, and keep in touch with people more directly.