Our iPhones and iPads are amazing tools. We have news at our fingertips, we can connect with loved ones in an instant, and we can purchase Starbucks for pick-up before we leave home. We track our children and order groceries. The ubiquitous nature of these enchanted devices is supposed to make life easier. The problem is we are now becoming hyper-connected. The barriers between work and personal space are blurred. Stress and anxiety from the day seemingly follow us home in the evening.
From a Superintendent’s perspective, hyper-connectivity impacts all facets of the educational system. Students may struggle to escape the social pressures of school. From Snapchat to Instagram, young people are always comparing and sharing. As adults, we must also manage a world that blurs the lines of work and family. Our teachers, dedicated professionals who give their all every day to develop students, must navigate the ever-changing technology of our world today.
It’s easier than ever to share, to connect, and to question. We send a text message; we wait for the response. We post on Twitter; we watch the interactions. We have a question; we send an email. We must teach students to be mindful. We must teach empathy to young people; we must model a healthy life that considers the schedules, feelings, and lives of others.
In any profession, through each experience, we must create guardrails to protect time to engage with our families, to rest and relax, and to pursue passions. It’s time to set those “do not disturb” features on our devices. It’s time to be intentional in our behavior – to resist the urge to check email after dinner. Be present at each moment. There are times we embrace hyper-connectivity, and there are times to disconnect from technology and reconnect at a personal level.
Superintendent John Marschhausen, Ph.D.