On the way home the other day, my husband and I were discussing how many accidents were happening on our highways. Just recently another high school senior was killed in a car wreck due to reckless driving, no alcohol involved. I mentioned that people needed to slow down but my husband insists that it is not speed that is causing the accidents but people who are driving recklessly (texting, talking on phones, playing with the radio, weaving in and out of traffic, etc.). This led to the discussion about how many accidents occur close to home. Here are some statistics on accidents and the distance from home. In fact, our wreck in 2000 happened within a mile from our house and we were almost killed. An elderly lady had a heart attack and was unconscious as she ran a stop sign. Unfortunately she didn’t live and we were lucky to suffer only minor injuries.
I think that many people get complacent when driving close to home. We feel relaxed and comfortable thinking that nothing can happen since we are near home. When we travel, we are on unknown roads and in different types of traffic so we tend to be more alert and careful.
I began to wonder if we get like that in the classroom. When I am teaching the same subjects as the year before or I have the same students, I tend to be more relaxed and less focused. When I teach a new subject or have students I’ve never seen before, I feel more alert and excited. The information I am going to teach will be a new challenge and keeps me on my toes. The new students are also a challenge because I have to get to know them and their personalities.
Maybe I need to treat every lesson and every students as if we are having new beginnings. They deserve my full attention and energy. By being too relaxed, I could be shortchanging them in what they deserve. Too be most effective, I need to stay on my toes and be excited about what I am doing. If the lessons are too comfortable, then I need to change them up a little so they can be exciting to me as well as my students. My students will pick up my attitude and if I’m bored with the lesson before we start, they won’t be motivated to learn. In turn, if I feel excited about the lesson, they will be more engaged.
What do you think about “being too close to home” when teaching? Please share.
Image: 'car flip'