Loafing is the most popular lesson of my 20-year teaching career. I got the idea from Walt Whitman, who writes in “Song of Myself”:
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
This made me think students might enjoy loafing — especially when I realized that they didn’t know what loafing means.
So one day we learned by doing. I took my English class at Grand Arts High School in downtown out to a vast lawn on campus perfect for loafing, which I told the teens meant doing anything they enjoyed so long as it was low-key. They loved having the freedom to sit or lie on the grass, looking up at the sky or down at bugs and tiny flowers, having heartfelt conversations, freeing their minds. For the rest of the school year, students asked if we could go loafing again.
My answer was yes.