Multi-Tasking In A Fast Paced World

Multi-tasking:  I live it.  Every single day.  (Every single hour of every single day??).  I have plans and I have lists.  I may not be physically running (although I do walk pretty fast in the mornings...just not as fast as I'd like), but I am going, going, going all the time.  There's family.  There's work.  There are all the other "little" facets of life that pile up and need to be taken care of. For the most part, I can handle it.  My ten year old son, not so much.

He entered middle school in early September.  He has a schedule that sometimes makes MY head spin.  I've marked things down on our weekly calendar so that I know what days of what weeks are early mornings (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday every week and Fridays every other week).  When he wakes up most days he doesn't know if he needs to be at school early or on "regular" time.  He only realizes it when I tell him he needs to hustle because the "music bus" is leaving at 7:30 (my new nickname for the SUV for "period 0" days).  He loves band and chorus, but he hates getting up in the morning.  (What kid does???)

My son has the tools to help him handle his multiple days and tasks. (The school provides the entire student body with a planner and I bought him a smart phone.  They are great tools, but he's got to remember them.  The planner tends to stay in his backpack and I don't know how often he digs it out.  His phone stays in his backpack at school and then on his charger in his room.  Remembering to grab it in the morning is just another challenge that we have.)  He's generally a pretty smart and well adjusted.  But he does have some anxiety issues and he had a total melt down the other day. I can't say I blame him. He'd gotten the results of his math quiz back; one that he had studied hard for after doing poorly on a pre-test.  He'd done poorly.  That alone would have been enough to send him over the edge, but he'd also had locker issues.  His "locker shelf" had fallen apart.  To top it off he'd forgotten his locker combination and couldn't find his "cheat sheet" for it.  (Thankfully his homeroom teacher DOES have a master list of locker combinations).  It was, as he told my husband, "a terrible day."  (Never mind the fact that he'd gotten a 95 on his Social Studies quiz).  But what tore a hole in my heart is when he said to me (in regards to getting help/assistance) is "there isn't enough time."

This message was reinforced when we got an email from one of his language teacher which said: "...came to class today and was upset saying he had a bad day (we're learning how to say I'm fine, I feel bad, etc.)  It made me upset to see him like that, but since everyone has to rush to the next class I didn't have a chance to ask him what was wrong."

His teacher wanted to ask him what was wrong; she wanted to try and help him, but there wasn't enough time.  And due to scheduling (since language classes and gym classes alternate days), she won't see him again until the following week.  I think there's something wrong with this picture.

I know we live in a fast paced world.  I wish I knew some magical way to slow things down, especially when it comes to the class room.  I sound like an old woman when I say "things weren't like that when I was in middle school."  (Of course middle school did not start for me until 6th grade.)  There are so many things that kids need to learn and there are only so many hours in a day.  (Which is why my son's music classes are held before the official school day does.  There is no time in the "regular" day for a daily dose of music.)  Most days my son starts school at 7:45 (being dropped off around 7:35) and officially ends at 2:52 (although by the time he goes back to his homeroom and gets what he needs from his locker it is after 3).  His day is crammed with classes, all of which are important.  But this rushing from class to class and all the anxiety it brings is distressing to say the least.

I don't have any answers.  I'm not placing blame on educators or staff.  They are trying to do their jobs in this crazy fast paced multi-tasking world too. (God bless them for keeping up with it.) If only there were some way where we could have one day each school week that wasn't so frantic and frazzled.  (And I'm just talking about school; not all the after school activities that also important, but also just as frantic.)

We all need a break.  We all need time.  We need time where we are NOT rushing and are able to focus on just one thing.  How can we make that happen?  I'm open to suggestions.


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