On June 28, the second day of Summer College for Teachers, guest speaker Tim Brennan addressed educators. Tim has worked in education for fifty years, and has spent twenty-eight of those years as a superintendent. Despite his move to administration, Tim has never let a year go by without teaching an English class. "Once an English teacher, always an English teacher," he says.
Tim values his position as a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, but he commented that many students walk into his classroom overwhelmed. Students are addicted to their screens, including laptops, tablets, and phones, and this has negatively impacted their ability to focus. He says that the visual bombardment coming from our screens can be calmed with mindfulness meditation. Tim begins each one of his classes with two full minutes of silence, explaining to students that they have no obligation for those moments other than simply sitting and being aware that they are sitting.
Tim's students say that this mindfulness exercise helps students to get started in class with clear focus. This activity can also help students get started on a paper or assignment at home. For more information about mindfulness, check out the 60 Minutes video clip above, which Tim shared with educators at SCFT.