So this post touches on a sensitive topic for me and borders on a rant. It may also be a sensitive topic for others or just something that others can relate to. For me, it is a struggle that is starting to have some fairly negative effects on my life in general. It relates to the impact technology and my role in #edtech is having on my health.
Having been warned, read on at your own discretion...
It is school holidays and today I have spent most of my day working on an assignment for university. I am currently studying my Masters in Education and the reality is that holiday time is the only time you can really knuckle down. I am sure plenty of teachers can relate to the craziness of term time. Trying to fit Masters level study around that is straight up hard. Now it was completely my choice to do this and this is not the issue in discussion today really. Sitting in front of my computer all day today made me think about my screen time in general and the impact being in the field of #edtech is having on my general wellness.
I've been in the #edtech arena for the better part of 4 years now, starting as an ICT Coordinator, moving to eLearning Coordinator and now (as of 2019) Head of Digital Learning and Innovation. Technology in the education space has always excited me and so these have been roles I have really enjoyed and loved. This being said, it is a fast paced part of the industry. For me, this has been part of the allure but it also means that you work hard to keep up-to-date with things. Admittedly I spend countless hours keeping myself skilled with what is new, exploring and testing out new tools and connecting with my professional learning networks online. For anyone in the #edtech niche, this is all essential. The problem though is that is it very time consuming and leaves you sitting in front of screens for hours and hours - often munching on snacks to keep you going and consuming undisclosed amounts of caffeine.
In the last few years two things have changed considerably for me. Firstly, I have gone up almost 3 dress sizes. For a women, that is devastating and is causing my confidence to take a real slide. The second is a significant decrease in my visual acuity, resulting in myopia (short-sightedness). I can almost hear all the technology haters our there sneering a collective "see we told you so". Alongside them the people saying "it's all about balance" and "your wellness has to come first". I totally agree and SO want it to be the case. I often speak to students and parents about screen time and finding technology balance. The difficulty is that balance is hard to achieve when you are the champion of technology - when you are the person who has to live and breath it and be the best at it. Being good comes with a cost.
It is a challenge for sure and one that I wasn't really prepared for when I embarked on this love affair with all things #edtech. It is something that I would really like to work on - sooner rather than later. I am sure there are amazing individuals out there in roles similar to me who have overcome this. I would love to hear how you find your technology balance. Teacher wellness is not focused on often enough and is not limited to my examples. With increasing workloads and demands, teaching as a profession is one of the most stressful around. Take my word for it or read more about it here and here. In sharing my experiences on this topic, I hope to expose some of the realities of the profession and perhaps encourage dialogue with those struggling in the same way.
And now that is said.....time to put the screen away for another day.
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