Thursday, June 25, 2009

Writer's Workshop

From Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt #2: How do you stave off boredom?

How do I stave off boredom? Honey, I live for boredom! Boredom means an empty mind, an empty conscious and an empty day planner. But, really, I cannot remember the last time I was bored. Wikipedia claims,"[b]oredom is an emotional state experienced during periods lacking activity or when individuals are uninterested in the activities presented to them." I guess I have the kind of mind that is never bored, I love to learn new things, I am curious beyond belief and will ask a million questions. I simply don't get bored. No, wait, I do. When I'm standing in line or on a long road trip. In that road trip case, I make sure I have something to read. The last time we drove in the dark, I checked out a book on tape (old name, can't recall what they call them now, you actually check out the playing device, too!) but every time I tried to listen, I fell asleep! So, yeah, sleeping is an awesome way to deal with boredom! As for waiting in line for something (or waiting period!) I can get a little bit crazy. Sometimes I do calf raises . . . of course if it's at the grocery store I read all tabloid headlines . . . sometimes I watch the door to see if anyone "interesting" will walk in . . . sometimes I daydream . . . sometimes I choose a person and kind of make-up their story in my head . . . you know, normal stuff! Most of the time I just take long, deep breaths and tell myself, "It will be over soon," or I think of Dorrie and chant "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming."

As I looked further into the fascinating topic of boredom, I am truly amazed. I -- a reader and educator-- did not know the background and philosophical implications of boredom! I feel like an idiot now (Mama Kat!) but that's okay, because I like to learn new stuff, remember? Anyway, the concept of boredom was first "documented" in Charles Dickens' Bleak House way back in 1852 where the word appears six times. And, there are three types of boredom: when we are prevented from engaging in some stimulating activity; when we are forced to engage in an unwanted activity; or when we just cannot engage or pay attention, for no apparent reason (wikipedia). Teaching seventh graders is the ultimate lesson on boredom! They sit and stare into space while I'm talking about space! I imagine they are daydreaming about their boyfriend/girlfriend or devising ways to sneak off a text while I'm not looking. Seriously, I could not even "engage" them on the topic of the size of the universe, or how fast the speed of light really is! HELLO??? 180,000 miles per SECOND, people!!! Isn't that amazing enough to get you to want to learn more? Typical response, "Ms. Garza, I can run like the speed of light." Yeah, and my hand can give you whiplash faster than that! Think! "Hey, Mrs. Garza, do you think they will make a car that can go as fast of the speed of light?" They did, didn't you see Back to the Future? Huh? Obviously, this is beyond their realm of thinking, I was "forcing" them to engage in an unwanted activity: school.


Saundra@ItalianMamaGoneCrazy said...

Oh, I remember my teaching days...

I have pictures of Frankie catching at our last game.

Great post.

See you Saturday.

Saundra@ItalianMamaGoneCrazy said...

By the Way, what's up with the word verification...


Ginger said...

I often contemplate boredom seeing as I am a high school teacher. I bore 18 year olds dily with Shakespeare and Milton. It's my job. Even if I were to stand in front of the classroom, drench myself in gasoline, and set myself on fire, the kids would still roll their eyes, sigh at me, and put their heads down. Boredom, apparently, is cool.

The funny thing is I read somewhere that being bored actually takes more effort (on the body's part) than being engaged. I suppose it's how the body tries not to go into a coma.

Like you, I am rarely bored. And standing in line at the store - we call that Line Disease around here. It is a contageous affliction. It makes babies cry.
(stopping by from SITS)

Kimberly said...

LOL, I can relate to your lesson on boredom with 7th graders. I had 9th graders who glazed over with bored eyes even during exciting topics like sex (well, sperm and egg creating embryos) and death (well, extinction and survival of the fittest). I'm still baffled how they can be bored during these discussions!

Great post :) I like your take on boredom!

CJ said...

You said almost exactly what I said about boredom on my post. I am a retired teacher who spent most of my teaching days with 6-8 graders, so I get the bored student thing. Luckily I taught art, so the students hands were busy even if their minds were sometimes elsewhere.

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Anonymous said...

Oh bother, I wrote a comment and Blogger is playing up and lost it. Let me precis:

Teachers are saints / I don't generally get bored *except* for when I travel because I'm too distracted by people-watching to read.

(Oh..and by the way, your blog is great)! :)