Angle 1: Slowing Down, Enjoying the Ride
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:
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.
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).
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.