Monday, August 31, 2009

Random Thoughts in the Moment Between Vacation and First Day of School

Whale Watching and Education

The boat navigates its way offshore, the captain judging the time between waves and the safest path for the passengers. The naturalist watches and listens for blows that announce the presence of whales. The whales seem oblivious of boat, captain, naturalist, and passengers. They are simply enjoying their journey: looking for tasty treats, slapping the water to communicate with each other, showing their flukes when they dive for distance. Occasionally a whale is curious about its fellow ocean travelers and will spy hop t o look at the boat. Sometimes the joy of life, the itch of barnacles, or the need to say something will inspire a whale to breach out of the water and crash back to the surface. As the first day of the new fall term quickly approaches, I hope the naturalist in me will foster my students' curiosity and communication skills, and will encourage that itch for learning so they delight in breaching the ocean of knowledge that awaits them.

Ferries vs. Bridges

When I drive over a bridge to get from Point A to Point B, I'm mostly concentrating on staying away from the edge, watching the other traffic carefully, and getting to the other side as soon as possible. Nothing joyful, or even very interesting, in the trip. Perhaps my passengers get more out of bridges than I do.

But, when a ferry is involved... It's all about the voyage. First you have to wait for the ferry. That gives you tim e to think about where you're coming from and where you're going. Then you have time on the ferry, even if it's only five or ten minutes, to observe the path you're taking along the way and anticipate your arrival on the other shore. There's a sense of accomplishment and an awareness of the route taken. That's not unlike a good teaching or learning experience. The journey is what's important. Understanding where you were at the outset and how you arrived at your destination, their connection, is more critical than Point A or Point B alone.
I like ferries. I enjoy ferries.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sue!
    I love ferries, too...and I can't believe I haven't gone on a whale watching cruise yet. Must put that at the top of my list.

    By the way, have I told you that I'm in NJ also?

    Thanks for your very kind words about my blog!