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Slow Down

April 10, 2020 am30 12:05 am

For my colleagues. For teachers in NYC, and everywhere. Maybe for my students, and other students. Actually, whoever you are, if you are reading these words, they might be for you.

Slow down

Slow down and wash your hands.

Slow down. Take your time planning that lesson. Plan three instead of five. Or one instead of three.

Slow down. Don’t say

“How are you”

– ask

“How are you?”  And slow down and wait for the answer,

and slow down and listen to the answer.

Slow down. Don’t drive yourself insane.

Slow down and teach less, and teach more carefully.

Slow down. Where are your hands?

Slow down. Remember your mask.

Slow down and explain. Slow down and listen.

Slow down. Don’t overwork and exhaust yourself.

Slow down and let someone catch up.

Slow down. Remember those who we have lost.

Slow down. Remember one someone we lost. Remember their words and their voice and their face.

Slow down, and let those around you slow down.

Slow down. Wash your hands once more.

Slow down,

slow down

slow

down

– – — — —– ——– ————- ——– —– — — – –

There was a world not so long ago where we never slowed down where there was not time where there was too much to do where there was too much too cover. That world was thrilling but brutal and fast and if you fell behind too bad and when your students fell

That world was shattered by this pandemic. Ugly. Frightening.

Now we teach from our apartments and houses and you learn in your rooms and when I tried to go fast I failed. I am learning to go slow. We are learning to go slow.

When this is over. When we defeat this horrible thing. When we go back to how we were, if we can even go back to how we were. When we go back, let’s do it slower.

In a brighter, less scary future, let’s remember how to

slow down and

wash our hands

and

slow

down.

– jd, 4.10.20

So, I can’t write poetry, even though I tried. But here’s the point. When we slow down, we allow kids more time to think and process. We may “cover” less, but if full classes internalize the material, if they grasp it, master it, then we’ve gained. And the children have gained.

By being forced to go slow we can smell the metaphorical roses, and give those around us, and those we are charged with educating the same metaphorical chances.

When we go slower, and are more careful with questions, we display empathy. We model empathy. We teach children something “outside of our content area.” When I’m slower, I’m warmer. Maybe that’s not true of every teacher, but it’s true of this one.

But roll all or some of these together, and I think there’s an argument to be made, when we return to “normal” teaching, doing a little less, doing it more carefully – and slowly – would be a good thing.

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