I’ve just returned from a 3 week trip to Dublin, Ireland, and London, England. It was wonderful and much of what I saw and heard and felt while I was away is going to translate into my teaching this year. Here are my top ten travel applications:
1. Writing Matters – When we visited the Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin, I realized that people have used language in such important ways over time that we sometimes forget there was a time when we didn’t have a means of expressing what we know and how we feel except orally. When the written word was established, people felt it was a gift from God. It still is. I want to make sure my students understand how lucky we are to be able to communicate in this way and how the importance of this should be cherished.
2. Oral Language Matters, too – The oral traditions are alive and well in Ireland. (Of course, it helps to have it said in that lovely lilting musical language!) From our cab driver telling us why he loves Obama to the people on the bus telling about their problems with their children, the stories we heard were amazing and oh, so memorable. Storytelling will have a place in my classroom this year.
3. Kindness Matters – After an 8 hour flight, an hour bus ride, and during torrential downpours, we dragged our luggage down the street we thought our hotel was on. Block after block, we were looking. When we reached the end of the street without finding the place, I hit the wall. I sat on my suitcase and started crying (which no one would have known about because of the sheets of rain falling, too)! A security guard at a nearby business came and showed us the hotel, less than 100 feet away. He didn’t have to do that. He could have looked the other way. This year I am going to be mindful of my student’s moods as I greet them at the door. I won’t look the other way.
4. Perspective Matters – As we were paying for our merchandise at the Tower of London, my husband commented, “How wonderful for you to be surrounded by all this fabulous history all the time!” The woman smiled and replied, “Ah, but you have your history in front of you now, don’t you?” That’s how it is with our students – they have it all in front of them and that is SO exciting! I want my students to feel excited about all that is ahead of them, too.
5. Quiet Matters – The people on the Underground in London rarely talk. They are either reading, playing with their I-Pods, or sitting quietly. I found it really relaxing to ride the subway because of this. We could hear what the conductor was saying, we could hear the next stop being announced, we could think our own thoughts because of this cultural courtesy. I want to make daily quiet spaces in my planning for next year.