Research on playing background music while students work independently showed that students were more focused and worked quieter so one year I decided to try it. As a high school elective teacher, many of my classes had long-term projects.
Music and Fashion
This was especially true in my fashion & apparel class that followed lunch. The students actually concentrated better and weren’t as noisy when I played the music. The only CD exception was Swimming with the Dolphins. “Don’t play that one. It makes us want to go to the bathroom,” they’d say.
With that settled, there was one other exception: Shawna’s behavior. She could not stay in her seat. While other students worked diligently on their fashion projects, she’d get up and roam around the room. As a reminder to return to her seat I’d say, “Shawna, you’re roaming.”
What perplexed me is that I had Shawna earlier in the day for marriage & family. She never exhibited this behavior. So what was the difference between second period and sixth period? Lunch? Not quite lunch, but Mountain Dew. She consumed a large soda with huge amounts of caffeine that affected her ability to sit.
Through discussions about Mountain Dew, encouragement to choose a less caffeinated beverage, and roaming, her classmates started saying, “Shawna, you’re using your roaming minutes.” It was all in good fun and well received. And we were all happy when she chose not to drink Mountain Dew.
Recently I found myself thinking, “Marian, you’re using your roaming minutes.” Focus and staying on task are still some of my biggest challenges. Getting ready for the day can be difficult because it allows for so many roaming opportunities. If I go to the kitchen to put something away, I may think of several other things to do and totally forget I was getting ready. Or I may find myself standing somewhere staring. Who knows for how long? Eventually I’ll return to the bathroom…or maybe not.
Slow and Late
Most days this isn’t a problem. Unless I need to be somewhere at a specific time. Sunday I was getting ready for church. Not only was I using my roaming minutes, I was extremely slow. “Lord, please help me focus and move faster so I can get to church on time,” I prayed. Apparently the Lord wasn’t concerned with my timely arrival. It took me 30 minutes longer than usual to get ready. I was late, as I frequently am.
Must Be On Time
On days when I absolutely must be somewhere on time, like when I’m the speaker, my husband hangs around in the morning and helps me stay on task. I’ve given him some cues that help. “Where are you supposed to be?” “You have ___ minutes left. How are you doing on your time line?” Without his help, I’m incapable of arriving at an earlier morning speaking engagement on time.
At My Desk
I’m pretty disciplined about getting to my desk to write. But then I’m afraid to get up…to eat, take a break, let the dog out, or any other reason, because I may forget to return to writing or return eighty minutes later. Sometimes timers and alarms help. But mostly this is a way of life.
Roaming With the Lord
Of course I’ve prayed and prayed about this. I have asked the Lord to help me focus, to totally heal me from the Functional Neurological Disorder and the many other symptoms I still have. But for now, it seems He’s more interested in using His roaming minutes with me. I need to go eat. I hope I remember to return to my writing.
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