Road to Change – Part 1

San Francisco…preschool…graduate school…seem so far ago.  Very soon, all of those will be actually far away.

Today, I embarked on a road trip across the U.S.  There is a lot of time to think.  I would be spending the next five days in my Pontiac Vibe – on the road for 4 hours, then 8, another 8, an epic 10, then 5 (that’s without the holiday traffic and bad weather).  In the back of my car I’m hauling what is left of my family’s apartment in Frisco: baby crib, some luggage, important paperwork, and a few other things that were too fragile to ship.

The end of this road trip will be Pittsburgh PA., and hopefully an early childhood position.  I hope to hear soon that I have my Master’s degree, which will open up job opportunities.  However, don’t know if Winter Break is a hot time for job openings.

Unless you have that employee who sends that drunk text shortly after midnight on New Years.  It happens, I’m sure.

I’m starting my trip in Bakersfield, where I was born and raised.  Spent time with the family, then hit the road.  The first destination is Vegas.  A little out of the way, but it’s where I would pick up my co-pilot on this journey – my Brother.

Along this drive, there is a lot of time to plan and think about what I’ll do in Pittsburgh.  “Indeed” is a favorite book mark on my Chrome Browser.  So is HigherEdJobs and Craigslist.  Wherever there is a job opening, I’ll start looking.

But there is also time to challenge myself.  Mentioned awhile back about doing “Posts from the Road.”  Fun to think about, but also forces me to think about how can I apply preschool to this journey.  Well, here we go.

Collect Artifacts

I’ve taken children on field trips and one of the best things you can give them is a Ziploc baggy.  I tell the kids, “You can put whatever you want in the bag to take back to school and show your parents.”  Often, these baggies were useful when we went to the park and playground.  Students collected flowers, leaves, and sometimes a bug.

Poor bugs… they need air holes.

The idea behind this is to collect artifacts from your experiences; take a part of the trip with you.  Pictures can only go so far.  Believe me.  I’ve taken tons of pictures.  No joke.  But an artifact is different.  It’s something that you can feel and smell.  Maybe taste.

I do the same thing myself.  I’ve gone on a couple of conference trips while I was a preschool teacher.  Although my students missed me, I found ways to communicate.  I texted photos to my co-teacher, who then showed them to the children during circle time.  In some pictures, I would hint at something that I would bring back.  Sometimes, I made a picture book of all the people and things I saw.

One time, I spent a week at a hotel while attending a conference.  During those days, I was able to collect enough hotel pens and note pads for all the students in my class.  I placed a set in each cubby.  The children loved them.  Perhaps next time I’ll take the hotel soap and place them near the school sinks!

These artifacts trigger memories.  The more senses that “light up” the more vivid the memory becomes.  A seashell.  A rock.  Even a receipt from a restaurant.  Memories come springing up from, almost like they’re embedded within the object.

Along these long drives, I’ve thought about telling my son about how I drove across the country to our new home.  Part of me wants to stop along the road, take a rock or scoop of dirt, and save it for him.  When I describe all of the cities and states I went through, I could show him artifacts from those places.  It’s fun to think about.  Maybe I’ll do that.

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