In life there are so many distractions and things to occupy our time and energy. I often wonder how many of us consider what we allow to fill us or occupy us throughout the day. By no means do the daily distractions not affect me, they do. Although I own an ipod I made a conscience decision to not use it during my morning or evening commute which seems illogical since that's when everyone else in the city seems to use theirs. I find that most people live in their own worlds while listening to their Ipods and have little regard for anyone around them. All of us with the best intentions can easily fall into this pit of having no clue of what is going on around them if one has music pumping into his/her ears. Not only can this come across as little regard for others, but it can leave the Ipod listener falling short of a fuller experience.
The school for which I work has a no cell phone/no ipod policy. It looks great in print, in reality it is a joke. On a daily and even period basis I have to tell students to stop texting and even put the Ipod away a few times! Of course I can just confiscate their phones and ipods, but that is something I wish not to do, since I would be responsible if I lost the item. The discipline (or lack thereof) is another blog entry when I have an excess of time. Today, however, I decided to take a cell phone from S. S is a good-hearted kid and when he is paying attention and tries, he does well-imagine!? I moved his seat months ago, closer to me, closer to the board. That move proved positive since I can have easier access to what he is doing or not doing. Today he started off on a great note since he was wearing a NY Yankees hat (he often wears a crappy Boston hat or a Washington Nationals hat) and every day he takes off his hat before class too. Sure enough within the first 5 minutes I hear him fiddling with a bag of candy in his pocket. I go over to him and tell him to save the candy for later. Candy is not bad, just a distraction. As I'm continuing with the lesson I notice S not writing down notes and sure enough he is texting. Today was a different day, I take his phone and continue with the lesson. Today's lesson for my Spanish 1 class was learning how to say the time and how to use the verb Ir (to go). As an exit ticket, I had students do a textbook exercise that dealt directly with what they just learned. S finished the assignment and joyfully stated, "hey mr. s (he used my full name, I don't allow students to make abbreviations) I'm starting to like Spanish class." Being an educator for 9 years now, it is no secret that when a student feels successful and knows he/she is successful they enjoy the subject. Of course it helps to have a lively, engaging, handsome teacher (smirk, smirk).
I think this experience just reinforces that when we actually pay attention to what we are doing we may have a fuller experience. So how is riding on a bus in silence/without distraction going to make my experience a fuller experience? I don't know, perhaps greet others around you and by doing so become familiar enough to have kind dialogue? I wonder what humanity did pre cell phones and ipods? I'd venture to say we lived a fuller experienced life.
Please note: If any of my blog entries offends you, or seem close-minded, please let me know and I could explain or clarify.