Various and Sundry Thoughts from Sitting at an Airport

If we as teachers would be honest with ourselves, there is the propensity to think that each of our lessons is absolutely critical to the well-being of the semester and that missed content is going to impair our students for life. Or so we would like to think.

Image courtesy of BriYYZ on Flikr
Image courtesy of BriYYZ on Flikr

I have the opportunity this coming week to participate in some workshop sessions for the faculty of Harvest Christian Academy in Guam. And I love being a springboard of new thought for teachers as they look at their school semester and ask “what can I do to better my classroom?” It’s a total recharge for me.

My son works for the airlines and I am able to enjoy standby status to get anywhere his airlines flies. And Dad is way cool with that status – and grateful too. But with standby comes the “opportunity”  to visit the airports for longer periods of time looking for a flight with that one extra seat. My itinerary was going to take me from Denver to Tokyo and then to Guam.

On the morning of Thursday, August 1, I showed up for a 12:45 flight to Tokyo and felt rejected as I heard “flight full.” But wait, there were flights to San Francisco with the possibility of getting out Friday morning for a flight to Tokyo. And so I waited, and waited for seven more hours and four other San Fran flights to find that magic seat Thursday night. Yes!

To my delight I caught the flight to Tokyo on Friday morning and spent 10.5 hours in the air to arrive in Japan. You need those 10.5 hours to be able to decide bbq chicken or beef for lunch (or was that for dinner?) and an omelet or noodles for breakfast (or was that lunch?). There are added pressures flying internationally that domestic flights just do not have. Usually I just face the “three peanuts, or two?” when flying in the States.

I landed at 2:05 p.m. local time…only to have the next Guam flight overbooked. Almost six hours later, as I draft this post,  I am sitting in comfy terminal seats hoping for the next flight…to just have one extra seat.

So what are these “big thoughts” that have hit me? Only this – that in my waiting I began to wonder if there was the chance I would be too delayed and not make it on time to complete my workshops. And you know what? In-service would have continued, teachers would still be prepared, the semester would go on, lessons taught, and assessments given. It is good to have a realistic view of yourself at times.

As school looms but just weeks away, remember that the primary goal in your teaching is not getting through all your lessons and feeling good about covering the content. No, rather the goal is for you to have engaging and healthy relationships with your students that in the process of teaching, thinking is enriched and behavior is changed. Vision is cast. Bridges of connection are built.

And if you do not cover every last jot and tittle of information, you know what? The sun will rise, students will complete courses, and grades will be assigned. We all, as teachers, can use a bit of perspective at times to keep us laser-focused on what is most important: our students.

Need to run…maybe my golden ticket will have a seat number on it this time!

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