In my typical every day life, I'm married to routines and plans, but when I travel across the pond, I expect exploration and immersion, even the kind that leads to moments of being lost. Five years ago I went on a Mediterranean cruise with my parents. Our stop off at the Greek island of Mykonos was not nearly long enough. All I really wanted to do was lose myself in the maze of circuitous narrow walkways encompassed by whitewashed stone buildings adorned with brightly painted doors and shutters. That would have made for the perfect visit. We simply weren't given enough time for the kind of immersion into the Mykonos life that I was looking for.
Now that I'm once again in the classroom, routines and plans are back in session. There aren't too many lost minutes in my room. I teach with a sense of urgency, as Regie Routman recommends. I believe there are many benefits to routine and sticking to the well-marked path. I know where we need to go and how to get us there. Ah, but I also recognize the dangers. When a fork in the road presents itself, which is more important? My plans or my students?
This week, my kids and I experienced our first two days of school together. Before I met them, I found myself repeating some of the words from Dave Burgess' quote above. "Just be. Immerse yourself. If something comes up that's not part of your original plan, just go with it." I think I did okay with that, but I also know I missed the mark at one point and I want to kick myself. Two of my boys requested I read a third David Shannon book, but all I could see were my plans and the clock. I had a list of reasons why following their lead wasn't ideal. Honestly it wasn't, but I won't go into all the details. The point is, there was a fork in the road. Considering how passionate I am about literacy, I took the wrong way.
Guess what I'll be doing this coming week? I'll be tracking down that third David Shannon book. I'll also be telling myself, "Expect exploration and immersion, even the kind that leads to moments of being lost." Amidst routines and plans that I still believe are essential, I need to remember that sometimes losing oneself is the most memorable part of the visit.