Through the Eyes of an Educator: Celebrating the Pauses In Between

by Stacey Ebert /
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Aug 06, 2018 / 0 comments

I grew up in New York. Fast paced, fast walking, and definitely fast-talking - I sped through the everyday with efficiency, speed, and haste. My travel itineraries were quick, and I regularly booked holidays to go directly from work to the airport and timed my return flight to get in an hour or so before the next week’s first bell. 

Every time I set foot in Manhattan, I sped up some more. For one reason or another, it often felt like quick was the way that worked here - and if it worked here, then it should work anywhere…right? That quickness transferred to my lightning speed lessons that allowed time for curious questions at the end of class. It kept students interested and paying attention (if not, they may have missed something). 

Year after year, there was at least one student who suggested that I get a side gig as a radio announcer, but only the ones who do the side-effects of a medication at the end of the commercials - you know the ones who speak at the speed of light, creating dazzled and dumbfounded listeners? No one had those connections - but it was an idea that fit the narrative.

Be in the moment. From Through the Eyes of an Educator: Celebrating the Pauses In Between
Be in the moment

It was that speed that I thought was necessary to work well, work quickly, work efficiently, and be able to multi-task like a master. After traveling more of the world, seeing more ways to live and learn, embracing life on the west coast, and learning more about the benefit of those pauses, I now know that that lightning speed that I thought was the best way isn’t the only way. 

Perhaps it's the addition of more yoga in life. Perhaps it’s the honoring of the more eastern cultural views, perhaps it’s the understanding that all learners are vastly different, or perhaps it’s recognizing that the growth that comes from pushing those comfort zones and getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is the most significant learning target. 

Whatever it is, the pauses matter, the sitting with it is key, and the taking the time to not only experience, but to try to grasp the growth is where that perspective shifts and light bulb moments ignite. 

Now I know for certain that celebrating those pauses in between is where the magic happens. 

Listen to the musings of Mother Nature. From Through the Eyes of an Educator: Celebrating the Pauses In Between
Listen to the musings of Mother Nature

How to embrace the pause

Today we see the world’s education taking a turn away from the traditional brick and mortar. There are more online learning communities, more people are turning to alternative educational resources, and forest schooling is a thing. There are schools that have added wellness programs; mindfulness teachings have enriched the focus and benefited behavioral strategies of hundreds. Finland continues to win awards for their educational strategies and encourages us all to teach more to the whole student than that silly old test theory.

Each time we take a minute away from statistical analysis and data mining to celebrate the student, we embrace the pause between. Each time we allow for breathing practices, meditation, time to spend in nature, or the ability to play, we embrace the pause between. And each time we add time to recess, let students choose their desired coursework, or embolden young minds with tools to change the world, we embrace the pause between.

Opt Outside. From Through the Eyes of an Educator: Celebrating the Pauses In Between
Opt Outside

Actionable tools to encourage the pause

Let your students choose their own after school experiences
Encourage recess, playtime, phone-free time
Boost outdoor access and time in nature
Take tips from Eastern cultures & experiment with yoga, meditation, & mindful mantras
Follow Princess Leia’s advice and "stay afraid, but do it anyway"
Get active: climb, trail walk, hike, kayak, paddle, ride, skate, run, jump, boulder, breathe
Ditch the digital & relax the mind with puzzles, drawing, knitting, or other creative pursuits
Sit in stillness for a set time period & resist the urge to stop when things get uncomfortable
Try a silent retreat or day and see what that quiet unleashes 
Go for a walk on the beach, in the park, or up a mountain - and let your thoughts be at ease
Embrace alone time - find time away from the hustle & bustle to be able to quiet your mind
Channel your inner wanderer and go walkabout with no specific destination or action
Find an opportunity to close your eyes & clear your mind for at least 5 minutes every day
Read philosophies that treat the pause with respect, like Buddhism, Daoism, or mindful mavens like Gabby Bernstein and Martha Beck
Give yourself permission to do nothing on purpose

Actionable tools to encourage the pause. From Celebrating the Pauses In Between

Where we go from here

Today’s world is run on tweets, posts, and Snap chat feeds. We get our groceries with the click of a button, can watch whatever we want from the palm of our hands, and pay for our endless whims with the swipe of screen. 

The news is endless, the traffic is constant, and the noise is loud. 

If we don’t take control of our own growth possibility now, we’ll never find the time to do it. Just this week, I heard friends tell tale about not being able to find any time in their week to get to a workout or even sit in stillness for a minute before the onslaught of home life intersected with work life. 

We need that pause now more than we know, and if we don’t teach our kids to find the time and realize the importance of it today, they’ll one day be those same adults struggling to find the time to slow down, breathe, and let their mind still. 

We provide our students with books, knowledge, experience, and skills in what we’ve long been taught are those core subjects - let’s make sure we teach them the benefits of the pause, as well. It’s high time we make sure that pause is a stronger part of our own core habits, too. 

Shift your perspective. From Through the Eyes of an Educator: Celebrating the Pauses In Between
Shift your perspective

Stacey Ebert, our Educational Travels Editor, is a traveler at heart who met her Australian-born husband while on a trip in New Zealand. Stacey was an extracurricular advisor and taught history in a Long Island public high school for over fifteen years, enjoying both the formal and informal educational practices. After a one year 'round the world honeymoon, travel and its many gifts changed her perspective. She has since left the educational world to focus on writing and travel. She is energetic and enthusiastic about long term travel, finding what makes you happy and making the leap. In her spare time she is an event planner, yogi, dark chocolate lover, and spends as much time as possible with her toes in the sand.

Check out her website at for more of her travel musings.

All photos courtesy and copyright Stacey Ebert, except word photo: creative commons, adapted by Wandering Educators