Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dark Room Time

It appears that the most common mistake that beginner triathletes make, according to my book "The Triathlete's Bible" is not getting enough good quality rest. It is only during sleep that a growth hormone that is essential for the repair of muscle tissue torn during hard workouts is released. Sleep is the processing time for the body. It is critical for muscle development.

This got me thinking about rest periods, down time, and sleep.

I was reminded of the little period of rest that follows a productive work cycle for children in the classroom. According to Dr. Montessori, after completing a solid work cycle where the child laid out the material, carried out the work, and/or repeated it, and then put it away, they need a while to process the work they just did. My trainer called this moment of disconnect for processing "dark room time".

This week we had a particularly active week in the classroom. Sayenne and I were trying to assess the factors that could have contributed to the upsurge in energy in the children and why so many of them had trouble keeping focussed. After so many weeks of pretty great work cycles, this week everything felt different. I wondered if there is a collective "dark room time" where the whole group needs a disconnect for processing.

Aside from my theorizing about rest periods and such, I encouraged myself with the thought of how so many times with development in children, they actually regress a little before they take a massive leap forward.

If not because there will be a giant step forward in the collective concentration span of our group, I remind myself that I can meet the ebbs and flows of energy in our classroom with patience and presence.

Aside from that, I am working on disconnecting myself fully from my work in my own down time so that in some unconscious way I can process my own classroom work with the children. To get enough rest and good quality sleep, for my body's sake and for the sake of my work as well.


Anonymous said...

Hi Susanne,
just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your blog very much. I am a dutch primary school teacher working and living in the south west of Australia.I am Montessori trained and teach Junior Primary at the local Montessori school. Thank you for taking the time to write such inspirational posts.

Anonymous said...

One thing my lead teacher talks about is how there is a cycle that covers roughly 10 days. It works in the same way as the 3 hourly work cycle does for an individual only it is collective and spread across 10 working days, or for 2 weeks if all the children are at school 5 days a week. Now that I am aware of it I see it happening. The great thing is it allows me to plan more effectively. I don't plan to introduce group works that require lots of concentration on these days because the group won't work. Waiting until the sillies have passed allows the group to enjoy the work and concentrate.