Travel Advisory: Pay Attention

Travel Advisory-Pay Attention
I am always amazed that students ever make it to class on time!

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

Navigating the corridors of a high school during the changing of classes is a challenge. I’d rather drive on the expressway in rush hour. Students move in packs down the middle of the corridor making it difficult for anyone to pass. They congregate at the ends of the corridors blocking anyone from getting around the corner. They stop abruptly to greet a friend and you almost bump into them. Or they almost crash into you texting on their cell phones oblivious to their surroundings.

I can’t help seeing the ordeal of traveling these corridors as a metaphor for traveling through life.

The group walk down the middle blocking the way reminds me of many times when I have been on a path only to have something come along and block me. Seeking a new job, I might have had a great interview and walked away thinking “I’ve got this” only to be disappointed when something blocked my path and I could not get around it. Somehow, the disappointment gives way and I eventually find the place I am supposed to be.

The congregating at the end of the hallway blocking the turn around the corner suggests many times when I have come to a fork and had to decide which path to follow. I think if I go to the right it will lead me down the road I should be on. It feels like the right way to go, like a road I have traveled many times before. But then something blocks my way and forces me to go the other way. It feels strange to me, I don’t know where it will lead. As in Frost’s poem, I have embarked on a path that few have traveled before. By taking this path I end up learning things about life and myself that the other road would not have taught me.

The abrupt stopping without regard for anyone walking right behind suggests times when I have planned to do one thing but ended up doing something else. Years ago I was working in publishing. I loved what I was doing and the people I worked with. I thought it would be my career, but I was blindsided when that career came to an abrupt end. It was devastating at the time but had that not happened, I would not have moved on to JFYNetWorks which proved to be my real dream job.

The spectacle of students texting on their cell phones oblivious to their surroundings reminds me that life passes you by if you aren’t paying attention to where you are going. If your eyes are glued to the screen in your hand you don’t see the flower, the picture, the cute baby in the stroller, the face of a passing friend.

Classrooms are where students learn math, English, science and history. But the hallways between classrooms can also teach valuable lessons. These passageways symbolize the paths through life beyond the classroom, the pathways on which today’s students will learn larger lessons about themselves, other people, and the world around them. I hope they learn to keep their eyes on the road and pay attention to the traffic.

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