Like many modern day Gen X'ers, I consider myself to be somewhat of a techno-crat. I’m no savant by any means, but let's just say, that like many of you, I have an unapologetic and unnatural love for all things electronic, especially my phone… Or should I say my iPhone.
My phone has an app for just about every important thing in my life. I have a health tracker, a budget tracker, a news tracker, a stock tracker, and a bill paying app, all of which I ignore.
I also have a Starbucks app that I should ignore, but don’t, and a Words with Friends app that at times consumes my life. Drat you, John Burn, for being infinitely smarter than me.
Never before has so much information been so readily available, and rendered so useless by its user... ME!
I seem to ignore all the apps that could actually MAKE me better, in favor of the ones that make me FEEL better. In this way, having more apps does not make me more productive, it does the exact opposite. That is, unless you count me losing fourteen consecutive games to John Burn as "a learning experience."
The problem is not with my apps, it's with my "app-athy." I have all of the tools I need to be more successful, but lack the will(power) or desire to use them. It's as true for me as a professional as it is as a person. It's not what I KNOW that holds me back, but what I FEEL!
As a teacher, I knew that I should:
- spend more time on fundamentals, but didn't.
- study my scores daily, but didn't.
- get ahead in my paperwork, but didn't.
- collaborate more with our band/choir/orchestra colleagues, but didn't.
- lesson plan for every class, but didn't.
I also knew that I shouldn't:
- get down when a student quit, but did.
- let a judge's rating alter how I felt about a performance, but did.
- let a crazy parent upset me, but did.
- listen to politicians and pundits talk about education, but did.
- let bad days overwhelm the good ones, but did.
As educators, we are trained to believe that with information comes power, but without the will(power) to use it, the information is oftentimes rendered useless.
As I travel from state to state speaking at MEA conventions, I see many sessions filled with knowledge; however, my experience has shown me that the sessions that are filled with people are the ones that not only makes us think, but also make us feel. Perhaps it is when feeling is combined with thinking that the greatest learning is achieved.
This is one of the many things that makes music education so impactful and unique, it combines thinking AND feeling into one singular activity.
So during these dark days of winter, contest prep, recruitment, and teacher evaluations, let me encourage you to spend at least some time reminding kids how you feel about them, because how YOU feel can help determine how THEY think. They need this affirmation of understanding and caring, because there is no app for apathy.
Until the next time, have a great week!