I am connected. I am out there. I blog. I tweet. I am part of a PLP (Powerful Learning Practice) cohort at school. I am connecting my students with other students and experts. I spent some time Friday evening following live tweets from Syria for my Middle East elective. I check email religiously, maybe even obsessively.
I am an extrovert. I naturally process best externally by talking things out. I have a noisy classroom where I encourage student voices. Most of the time, I have a hard time with silence.
Yet, sometimes I crave the silence, and the chance to focus on one thing. When my family cleared out of the house for a few hours today, I did not catch up on reading the blogs I have been meaning to read (my apologies to those folks). I did not catch up on my Twitter feed, where I know there were fabulous ideas and resources waiting. I even only checked email twice. It seems that nobody needed me desperately after all.
I read a book. Recommended by my friend Cristina, The Swerve took me back to the dawn of the Renaissance and then even further back to the world of the ancients, Greece and Rome. I found myself slowing down, reading every word and taking in a distant culture where manuscripts were copied by hand – a few steps removed from our digital culture of instant publishing.
Retreats have come to mean going off with a group of people to work on a specific task away from the crowd. Today I needed to take it a step further by retreating away from the digital crowd. I am emerging more centered and focused. Maybe next time I will even forgo email.
We owe it to ourselves and our students to model quiet spaces and focus. The world is awfully noisy. I love the connections as much as anyone, but sometimes we all need to unplug for a few hours. Can we help our students find these moments, even in our classes? I am all for collaboration, but maybe not all the time. An article reminding us of the introverts in the world gave me pause earlier this week. My Saturday reminded me of the value of introversion even for an extrovert, who feels the need to blog about it.