As my husband and I travel, we try to map out a general itinerary but along the way, this may change. We might see something we want to stop and see but if we hadn’t been traveling, we wouldn’t have known this. Whenever we stop somewhere we ask the locals what they suggest that we see and do and sometimes we like their ideas and take time to explore them. Sometimes there is a detour and we have to take a different route whether we want to or not. This detour can sometimes lead us to an unexpected adventure that turns out wonderful. Sometimes the weather is bad where we are heading and we have to change our plans in order to go someplace that has better weather. These little changes usually end up having positive results for us but if it didn’t, the positives have outweighed the negatives. Of course these changes are like a ripple effect and means that we may not go as far as we had hoped, or it costs us more money than we expected.
This is the same way with my students. They need to know that they might enjoy their journey of learning as they head for a specific destination. Of course it might take longer or seem like they have to work harder than expected but the end result is not as important as what they learn along the way. Graduation might be the end result but along the way they may learn coping skills, social skills, make better friends, and learn different things than expected. By asking for help or seeking answers in different ways, this does not signal failure but rather improves the journey. Students might also decide on changing their destination but if they didn’t even attempt to make this journey, none of this would happen.
As a teacher, it is important that I teach the students how to map out their journey, and accept that changes along the way are expected. I need to encourage them not to “park the car” out of fear and anxiety. I also need to help them appreciate the journey and the wonderful things that happen along the way. As a teacher, I can influence the journey and make it a fantastic trip or a miserable drudge and I hope that I can influence them in the right direction towards a successful trip.
Photo credit: Which way do you want me to go? By Vincent Ma