Teachers: It's Time To Log Off
Feeling stressed? There's an app for that.
Need lesson plans? There's a platform for that.
Want to network with other teachers? There's a hashtag for that.
Emails, schedules, marking work, catching up with friends, ordering your shopping, and relaxing. As a teacher, or any other professional for that matter, we are so used to using technology in our day-to-day activities. Today I got up and the first thing I did was stare aimlessly at my phone for at least ten minutes. That's ten minutes I could have been using to gain some extra kip, a cup of tea, OR actually enjoy getting ready for work at a leisurely pace. When working in day-to-day supply or as a full-time teacher, your laptops and phones become an extra limb. If we're not staring at them for an early morning phone call or how to skip the traffic, we're grabbing a few minutes of 'important' social media time before the classroom bell goes. We're all guilty of it, it's quite frankly an obsession.
Summer is upon us and I doubt it's changed much. We stare at screens to relax, show off what we're doing, and to gather exciting content for our new classes. Don't beat yourself up about it by the way, it's how most of our days play out, it's just suddenly it's all over the media and I think it's time we all did a little something about it. Now, I'm not advocating that you give it up completely, I'm just simply suggesting that we all need a good break from it once in a while to allow our frazzled brains to recover, especially as you're all meant to be having your well-earned down time. Did you know that out of 2,050 adults and 500 teenagers interviewed, over a third found admitted that they found it difficult to disconnect and almost half said they felt lost when they could not access the internet? Jeez, slightly worrying if you ask me.
If you spend your life shouting 'I can see you texting under the table' or 'whoever's phone is going off please see me after class' whilst teaching, maybe it's time we took our hatred for technology and mixed it with the outside world. By doing a digital detox, we give ourselves chance to step back temporarily. When we return, recharged, we’re more productive and have a different perspective. We’re also likely to have gained at least one great idea while we’re ‘not thinking about it which is always a bonus.
So there's no time like the present, read our tips on how to get yourself started and get your finger on the off switch...
Bedrooms are for recharging (the body) and star fishing, not for Facebook updates, classroom pins and Instagram trawling. Allocate this room to a “technology-free environment” and leave your phone completely elsewhere. Not only will this help you to wind down and relax, but gain some extra time snoozing.
Dedicate a certain amount of time to classroom planning/replying to emails. Staring at work related matters every day in the Summer is not going to give your brain time to switch off. School is out so your mind should be too, September can wait... for now.
Too busy to BUZZ
Turning your phone onto silent mode is a start, but to fully free yourself from the temptation of a sneaky peek it's time to ban the option of vibrate too! Any sort of alert will only draw your mind back to emails, texts and a social media scroll - so it's all or nothing.
Switch up your routine
If there are certain times in the day that you use your phone most, try something a little different. Whether you've just woken up or are taking ten minutes on the sofa, write down (on paper) a few things that you are grateful for/will enjoy about today rather than staring at a screen. After a busy school year appreciation will make you more relaxed and positive. Doing this evokes good sentiments and in turn will help you to recharge those brain batteries.
Broadcast your detox
If you're like many others and love to network, let other people know through social media, email, phone or an in-person conversation that you will be offline and unavailable even if it's for a few hours. That way there will be less fear of missing something important and no impulsive checks! ENJOY IT! It's not forever and it certainly isn't a punishment. It's okay to feel a little lost to begin with as we're so reliant on technology in our daily lives, but enjoy the time off! Find an 'off screen' hobby and continue to pursue it, especially as your work life will demand so much technology time from you come September.