Profuse and Various

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Diversification

I know some people who take their jobs everywhere with them. For example, when finishing a day of work, some people go home to spend another 3-4 hours working on the same kind of thing. If I were to try this, the combination of effort needed to invest that much time into both my music and my teaching would probably cause my brain to explode. I’m not silly enough to try that, but neither am I blind enough to assume that I don’t need to practice everything I want to be good at.

In our very busy, extremely competitive world, I don’t think many people would fault someone reasoning that they will work on just their one chosen thing 100% of their time so that they can be the best at what they do and always have a job or at least a market for the skills and talent. Countless books have been written showing why that can be a very bad idea for your health and relationships.

With teaching, a lot of students seem to be mystified that we teachers can actually have interests and skills outside of teaching. The thought that your science teacher is also a world-class mountain biker, whereas your drama teacher creates photo essays in their spare time, comes as a revelation to many. But I think all of those beloved teachers who are adored for their skills function that well precisely because of those diverse interests.

For example, I enjoy strategy video games in my spare time. Civilization, chess, and the pinnacle of RTS, Starcraft II: all of them eat up chunks of my spare time that isn’t spent practicing my trombone or prepping for the days’ lessons. And that isn’t all. I also love to cook, and I spent a good amount of time preparing and cleaning up from food that I experiment with.

All of this isn’t critical for my students to know or understand. There’s some things you just want to keep to yourself. But I think the ability of all of your chosen activities to enhance the quality of all the others is overlooked. I talked before about my music training cross-pollinating with principles of athletic performance. My furious efforts to win a battle of wits using various pawns against other people helps my brain develop and hone problem-solving and multitasking skills (which are a necessity in any classroom with a non-zero number of children in it).

And if anyone else is like me, you’ll also find eventually that all of things you normally do don’t appeal to you on that day, at that time. In that situation, I think it’s perfectly healthy to just go do something chosen at random: walk, see a movie you might not normally want. Perhaps even buy a ridiculously extravagant dessert or snack, just to see what money actually tastes like.

All these things are invisible to most people, because they’re not something that needs to be shared with the world. They are, however, necessary to develop for your own sake.

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