The Joy of Getting Away

I generally live, breathe, and think education 24 hours a day. When I am at home, I am usually on Twitter or reading education blog posts. I often bring home work and do it in my free time.

This past weekend, however, I did not.

My family and I got away to a cabin at Lake Tahoe, and education rarely crossed my brain. My six-year-old and I worked on a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle. For two days, this was the focus of our lives, and when we finished, we had a sense of achievement. It was very refreshing to do something difficult that had nothing whatsoever to do with work or education.

These times are fun, but it’s also essential for our work. Most practitioners of cognitive science argue that it is essential that we take time away from our work to achieve insights and epiphanies. If we never separate ourselves from our work, we risk losing those great innovative moments when breakthroughs occur. We also must take steps to ensure that we prevent burnout before it is too late.

To be sure, we can’t step away too much. If we never struggle with an issue, or we never think of education outside of work hours, we will fail to think creatively and bring new insights to the classroom. Nevertheless, it is important to take time now and then to get away from it all.

Besides, how chances will I get to solve a 500-piece puzzle with my six-year-old?

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