This weekend, I am visiting friends who live about 4.5 hours away. I decided to be adventurous and take the Greyhound bus! It quickly turned into an adventure - we left nearly 2 hours late, and then an hour into the trip, the driver said that the bus had a mechanical issue and we needed to return to our starting point to get it fixed in the garage or to get another bus. We returned and waited for an hour, where they discovered it was a simple fix. We then left, and about 1.5 hours into our journey, the bus broke down again (a different problem). Because it was late at night, the garage did not have another bus/driver to send our way, so we ended up spending the night on a cold bus in the mountains until the next scheduled route came and picked us up in the middle of the night! On that warm bus, we finally made it to our destination, 12.5 hours late. My 5-hour bus ride had turned into a 17.5-hour journey.
While I was on the bus, I kept thinking how similar this is to teaching and learning. We often think it will be so easy to teach someone a simple concept or idea. But it might take longer. We might circle back and find things that were missed before and have to repair those misconceptions before proceeding. We may have to cover the same terrain multiple times to get where we need to go. It may be a winding journey, not straightforward, but I fully believe that we will get there in the end!
This really came to mind because it's October. As any educator knows, October can be a challenging month. The honeymoon period is over, extended breaks (Thanksgiving & Christmas) are still a month away, and weather changes can make kids crazy! This month can feel like one of those times where we are having to turn around and go back to the station, reestablish our norms & expectations, and then dive into the learning again. It may not be fun, but it is important!
One more thing - I am so grateful for my friends who encouraged me while I was sitting somewhere in the middle on a cold, dark bus. No matter where we are, having the support of others is vitally important!
Who knew all of these thoughts about learning could be sparked from a bus ride? I'll be honest, though, I'm hoping my return journey will be nice and straightforward - because sometimes teaching and learning is like that, too! :-)