Habits of Mind

Hovering the Surface, Then Diving Back In

By March 27, 2015 No Comments

Last week was our spring break, and it could not have come soon enough — I felt completely saturated with learning.

The vacation permitted me to do something important: not go to school. I tucked away my work and left my laptop on my desk at home as I packed for a trip with my family. I didn’t plan to do a lot of deep thinking or reading while on vacation — what I really wanted was to skim along pages and unfamiliar streets alike. With just a few books in my bag, I felt especially weightless as our plane took off.

We flitted in and out of places in London, not worrying about seeing everything there is to see or doing everything there is to do. During our trip, we visited the Churchill War Rooms for under an hour and the Victoria and Albert Museum for about two. Perhaps the longest thing we did was wander the stacks in Foyle’s bookstore, pulling titles and filling our arms with the ones we wished we could take home to read later.

Each day, we meandered through the city without an agenda, dipping in and out of parks and markets, marveling at the ancient city with its modern edge like spectators at a ballgame or a play. But while we did not go deeply into things, we nevertheless learned a lot from our cursory glances and fleeting thoughts. We were able to make real-life connections to things we have been deeply immersed in for the past few months at home — Harry Potter and Great Expectations, the bloody history of the Tudors, and how to perfect the English breakfast.

We had a memorable week away but felt ready to come home. A change of pace and place, of observation rather than analysis, helped each of us to feel reenergized and ready to dive below the surface once again.



Jessica is a doctoral candidate, education consultant, writer and editor. She is the founder of bookclique, a collaborative of English teachers and students working to promote book culture, and a co-founder of Well-Schooled, the site for educator storytelling, dedicated to sharing first-person educator stories. All Rights Reserved - What I Learned Today in School.