“The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy.” — Hermann Hesse
I like them. I honestly do. The teachers who amble into the morning meeting at the last second. The ones who get their tests marked in the nick of time. The ones who seem to take forever to get things done. The ones who are always last. The slow teachers.
They’re the ones who always seem to have the most time when the rest of us are blurring around them. After all, what’s the rush*?
And I love those lessons which are slow and intense. Where we don’t need to rush through anything, and we can get our minds deeply into an issue.
There are all sorts of slow movements these days: slow food, slow fashion, slow gaming, slow reading, slow gardening, slow medicine, slow science, slow parenting, slow consumption, and even slow cities.
Some characteristics of the slow movement are:
- A deliberate, intensive focus on what we are doing, one thing at a time, rather than rushing and multitasking. Slowness allows for thoroughness and deeper immersion into what we’re doing.
- Slowness is being mindful of enriching our lives and the lives of those around us. It’s about quality of life and care and compassion.
- Slowing down makes us reflective and thoughtful.
- Enjoyment of what we’re doing, above instant gratification, becomes more important than just rushing things to get them done.
- It involves the simplification of priorities and the trimming out of what doesn’t matter. Slowness is about embracing quality over quantity.
- Slowness is holistic. It’s about balance. And it’s focussed on long-term well-being.
- There is a strong ethical and environmentally responsible bent to slow revolutions that encourages less-is-more frugality, morality, and responsibility. It tasks us to acknowledge that it isn’t that we do things, it’s how we do them.
- Slowness is about resisting coercion and about learning to say no to frivolity and unreasonable demands.
- If we embrace the slow culture, we savor life and nourish the lives of others.
- And we take delight in simplicity and in simple pleasures.
Who wouldn’t want education to be more like this? It might not seem possible initially, but I’m convinced we can streamline and rethink what we do to encourage purposefulness, reflection, depth, engagement, and meaningfulness.
* I do recognize that not all of these teachers are slow as a statement of principles, and they do not all encapsulate the principles outlined in this post. Many of them are just lazy. Which can also be inspiring in its own way.