I have spent a lot of time these last few months visualizing our programs. I did not realize it at the time, but it has been a practice in awareness. Awareness is the attribute at the heart of everything we want to achieve at Lighthouse Educator Development. How aware are you right now? How aware of your finances? How aware of your health? How aware of your influences? How aware of how these factors affect your students everyday?
We have all heard the saying, "I don't know what I don't know!" yet it seems that many teachers use it to justify their ignorance. Awareness is a skill just like learning a language or playing an instrument. It is not something that you are born with, but something that we must develop. For me awareness was not about hearing more, but about hearing less. How often do you get an alert on your phone? Daily? Hourly? Every 30 minutes? Every 15 minutes? How many email lists are you subscribed to and how many emails do you open?
As I have worked to develop my awareness skills I took a hard look at the information I let into my brain. I asked myself two questions. Is this information having a positive or negative impact on my state of mind? If the information is negative then it must be cut out immediately. If the information has positive impact I ask myself how great is that impact. A key to developing awareness within myself has been the realization that my brain has a limited capacity for information. I loved getting alerts about the Green Bay Packers six times a day, but it impact goes beyond just the 20 seconds it takes to check the message. For me an alert of any kind would turn into a 15 minutes social media session followed by another 15 minutes to refocus on the task at hand.
What all those alerts and emails do are take up space in an already crowded pool of information. They often take away from that has a much greater impact on my well being. I am not the only one who reads a book with their phone right next to them so they can check it every time it rings. It allows us to say that we read for an hour when in reality we were focused on reading for half that time.
As we move into the summer and being to decompress from the school year lets take some time to expand our awareness. For me it is through silence, space, and meditation that my awareness grows. Maybe for you its watching a documentary instead of the comedy with your kids. Maybe its a camping trip rather than a hotel stay. Or maybe it is asking yourself where you're getting information from and what impact that information is having on you. I challenge you to take time this summer to invest in your awareness so that next school year you'll see things a little differently!!