OKTOY blog: On being busy

“I didn’t ask you because I thought you were busy.” I always follow this heartbreaking comment with reassurance that the reason I am busy is for them, the students. Whether I am typing at my computer, reading a journal, organizing the classroom or rearranging some music, it is all for them. At the height of all of these duties, I most look forward to being “busy” with talking to and working with them.

Too often we wear “Busy” as a badge of honor. As has become the American way, we pride ourselves on work and accomplishments. Of course we are busy! If we were not busy, we would probably not form the friendships we currently have. It is this common passion for “doing” that brings us together. We do good work in the service of others, and we dedicate time to friends and family, and these chosen tasks inherently make us busy.

Here’s the plan. The next time someone asks, “How are you?” please shed any prideful answers of “busy-ness.” Just for fun, try one of these scenarios:

Q: How’re ya feeling?

A: I’m great! It’s weird though…I know a ton of people, and I wonder why I don’t have more e-mail.

Q: Are you busy?

A: (Ignore the question, and dive into something interesting.) I have to tell you about _____. (Fill in the story here with a positive “busy” moment or article you just read or concert you just attended or person you just met).

Q: How is your day?

A: Time is flying…I have so many great things going on today!

I hope we eventually agree that it is great fun to be “busy.” Remember that there is always time to talk to someone, no matter how busy. If it means we stick around five minutes longer, or stay up an hour later, it is the kind of busy we should all seek in the end. I encourage each of us to fill our lives with meaningful conversations, positive experiences and special people. I look forward to being busy for and with my students these coming summer months, and I hope all of our students know what an honor it is to do “busy-ness” with them.


Peter Markes
Oklahoma Teacher of the Year







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Last updated on June 6, 2014