Angle 1: Slowing Down, Enjoying the Ride

Oct 13, 2010 by

In yesterday’s blog post I shared some thoughts about encouraging our students to spend more time with their writing topics by writing about the same topic in multiple ways. I challenged you to model this for your students.  I also promised that I would help you get started by demonstrating this for you.  Below you can read a narrative about one of my recent experiences.  Tomorrow I’ll share another angle.

                                          Slowing Down, Enjoying the Ride

I had just finished presenting an in-service on the traits of writing at a school in Ogdensburg, NJ.  It was 12:30 pm and my flight didn’t leave until 4:25 pm, so I had plenty of time to make the 1 1/2 hour drive to the airport in Allentown, PA.  Or so I thought.  Not far into my trip, traffic came to a crawl and then a dead stop.  Several cars in front of me turned off the road, allowing me a good view of the culprit:

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a line painting truck (technical term)

Every so often the truck would pull off the side of the road—to let the traffic pass, I thought.  But no traffic was allowed through.  ???  Great, I thought.  I was planning on getting to the airport early and using that time to get some work done.  This slow-down was eating into my work time.  But as we crawled along at 5 mph, I began to look around and notice the vibrant fall colors and the beautiful New Jersey countryside. 

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Prior to this trip the only areas of New Jersey I had seen were the urban parts of Cherry Hill, Newark, and New Brunswick.  I didn’t even know New Jersey had landscapes like this.  After the traffic finally picked up, I found myself wanting to linger a little longer just to enjoy the gorgeous colors and rural landscapes.  I even took a couple of purposeful detours down some side roads and got out to take some photos.  (After all, I did have a few hours to kill).

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As I drove and enjoyed the view, I thought about our lives as teachers.  By now you are well into the school year and moving at a pretty fast clip, I suspect.  Depending on where you teach, you may be doing progress reports, completing report cards, or preparing for parent-teacher conferences.  Life is moving quickly.  Are you enjoying the ride?  How about the view?  When is the last time you slowed down to take a breath—either in the classroom or out?  If you haven’t done so lately, go outside and take a long walk or read a book just for fun.  Do something you enjoy.  I promise, you will be a better teacher for it.

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