professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Words to the wise

As I was reading THE SCAR BOYS by Len Vlahos with my ears, I jotted down this phrase, "not where I end up but how I got here." I pondered this for a while and then recently ran across this note when I was looking for a pad of paper to take some notes. Here was the quote on page one. It's not about where I end up but how I got here. Hmmm. Process over destination? Journey over arrival? There are so many ways to go with this quote. On the particular morning I found this note, I had spent about 30 minutes with my BH trying to locate a Starbucks. We were on the road and wanted something more than hotel coffee service offered (brown water at best). So I used the Starbucks store locator. Store #1 appeared to be around the corner of the hotel. It wasn't. Store #2 was not too much further. Nope. Gone. Store #3 finally netted a real, live, working Starbucks (note to Starbucks: update your store listings, please). After a vent coffee and a lovely toasted bagel, BH and I actually were able to laugh at the "journey" we had undertaken all for some coffee. How we got there was a comedy of errors; the destination was the thing.

But it is different, I think, for my journey as a teacher. Yes, I am more than pleased with my destination. I love my job. But the journey here, bumpy though it has been, is important. How did I proceed (process) from the newly minted teacher to the person I am now? I graduated knowing only how to teach Huck Finn, really. My first job was in a school where I was the minority, where most of the students were African American, and I was their third teacher. It was December. I knew that Huck Finn was not how I wanted students to get to know the "new" teacher. And so, I began another step on the journey. My second job eventually landed me teaching gifted kids for part of the day. Something else about which I knew little. Back on the road for another journey. Next stage for me? Department Chair. Back on that road. Finally, a journey I undertook for myself, that frustrating pass that allowed me to enter higher education: the doctorate.

It has been the journey that was key; it still is. Courses taken, colleagues gained, friends made. They have helped me travel the twists and turns, helped me see paths, allowed me to make new roads. And, of course, I am not done. This destination is a pullover, a rest stop, a connection to what is to come.

So, when it comes to caffeine, maybe the destination is better than the journey. But when it comes to teaching and learning, it is all about the journey. Want a ride down the road?
Tags: journeys and destinations
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