Task Avoidance

Is something I’m good at.  I know how to completely avoid a task.  I think I was recruited by the pros while I was still in elementary school.  While “cleaning my room” I would find old papers to read, notes and pictures to look at, clothes to try on…anything but clean and put away objects in my room.  Now, fast forward 20 years and I’m doing it again.  Here I am in the library with the knowledge that I need to really get to work on a paper but instead of actually buckling down and getting to work I have found other things to do instead.  I have checked the different blogs I like to read, I checked people.com (one of my favorite task avoidance sites to visit–I love the pictures), looked at the different comics available on Yahoo! News, checked all of my email, I haven’t called my mom or sister but that’s a usual, and now I am writing a new blog post.  While working on this task avoidance activity I got thinking: if I didn’t have the internet what would I do for my task avoidance activities?  Would I have a cleaner house, would I have all my lesson plans done from now to after the winter break, would I find a new way to cook kale…I don’t know!  Right now I KNOW I need to get this paper done and it’s not that I do not enjoy the topic I choose or the books I read (this one and this one), it’s just the starting.

So how does this feeling and knowledge get transfered into the classroom (at any level)?  As a teacher I know the task avoidance behaviors of many of my students (one of the favorites in the past years has been the bathroom) and have a pretty keen sense of when they need to go and when they need a break.  When do I allow this?  Does the observed task avoidance behaviors in many students mean the assignment is too hard, not hard enough, not interesting enough?  Did I explain what the assignment throughly?  Did I really give them guided practice?  Or is today just a day they don’t want to write?  Those questions are hard to answer, and while I freely ask those questions I understand that I do not have the answers to my questions.  Instead I want to remember that I avoided tasks when I was young and I continue to avoid but now the important change is after a good bit of avoiding, I do get to work.  So now, if reading this blog post was part of you avoiding a task I’m going to gently and loving tell you to STOP READING AND GET TO WORK!

Time to take my own advice!

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