Parking Lot Lessons On Teaching

I’m not certain if anyone else out there has made this connection during the holidays (or ever!), but it hit me like a ton of bricks a couple of weeks ago while in the midst of last-minute Christmas shopping.  Great time for a revelation on my teaching practice, but there you have it.

My eldest son (almost ten) and I were on our way to Walmart to pick up a couple of little things and round out our gift giving.  I was driving our big 4X4 truck, Clay was in the back, and we turned into the crowed lot.

This is where I started jockeying for a parking spot.

I wanted to be close.  It was cold (- 34 C with a wind chill is NOT conducive to long walks) and the parking lot was shined up like a skating rink.  People were everywhere: parked illegally in fire lanes, stationary in the middle of the road with their blinkers on, pushing carts, dragging children, smiling, frowning, shivering, hurrying.  All walks of life, all wanting to do what we wanted to do, and I still figured I needed to be parked close.

Five minutes into the process.  My son is consulting me on my driving (of note, he got to drive the combine this fall – a whole different story of a mother’s chagrin – and now feels he is an expert).  I’m getting grouchier, someone has honked at me, I have honked at someone else… all for a non-essential, precious parking spot that may make my life easier.

BAM! It hit me.  Not another car, no, but what I was doing.  Jockeying for a position in a parking lot is a lot like some of the teaching I have done in the past.  Just because something seems convenient doesn’t mean it’s right thing for you to do at the time. 

I pulled that big truck into one of the furthest spots from the doors.  Slimmer chance of getting hit, a little more work getting to and from the store, but a bit of exercise would do me good.  And besides, ‘Professor DrivesACombine’ commented that his father always parked way out in the boonies to prevent damage to the truck.  That seal of approval meant a lot!

Too many times I have stuck with what I thought was easiest and most convenient in my teaching circumstances when, in reality, it didn’t make a great deal of sense.  How often did I jockey for prime position in my teaching, looking for that personal ease and comfort in the midst of chaos, when stretching my legs and taking a greater journey would have made more sense – even if it was more work?

No more jockeying for position – in parking lots or teaching.  I will consider my options, take a chance, and walk the extra mile.  It ends up benefitting everyone.

And less people honk their horn at you.

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