Good professional development is invaluable to a teacher and many of us have come away from courses or presentations buzzing with ideas to try in our classrooms. Sometimes unfortunately the demands made on us take over and things get put on the back burner. I don’t know how many times I thought ‘I will be able to try that at the start of the year before things get hectic’ – ha – teaching is always hectic! For those things that did make it into my classroom there were dozens of others that didn’t. Then I became a Head Teacher and my poor staff were hit with all my ideas and to their credit they enthusiastically tried them out (even although secretly they didn’t think they would work) To be honest some did and some didn’t.
Anyway to get back to the point I was at a presentation and the following extract was read out to us and it struck a chord in me about the quality of our teaching on a daily basis. I went back and did a session with my staff using it. Now on the other side of retirement I still think it has impact and so instead of wishing for a life back in school I look forward to the next adventure that life brings so when I reach that station I don’t meet it with regrets and what ifs but with pride in my accomplishments.
Read and reflect on the extract and see if it has an impact on you.
‘The Station’ by Robert Hastings (abridged)
Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are travelling by train. Out the window we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.
But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering – waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.
“When we reach the station, that will be it!”, we cry. “When I’m 18.” “When I buy a new SL Mercedes Benz!” “When I put the last kid through college.” “When I have paid off the mortgage!” “When I get a promotion.” “When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after!”
Sooner or later, we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip itself. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.
“Relish in the moment” is a good motto… It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad, it is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.
So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along.
The station will come soon enough.