Detours can be frustrating, especially if we are in a hurry to get to our destination.
When we come across these detours, however, we all have a ‘mindset moment’ that can change everything. We can either allow the anger and frustration to overwhelm us, or we can look at the detour as an adventure instead of a roadblock. Sometimes by getting off of the highway and taking the scenic route, we see the beauty in the journey that we never would have otherwise noticed.
I am not a fan of traffic as many of you have heard in my podcast episode, “Teachers in Traffic.” Next to this, however, detours are probably my least favorite thing to experience when I am in a hurry. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to change my mindset from the negative to the positive when encountering these frustrating obstacles. We all face detours at times in our life. However, if we can approach them with a mindset of growth rather than one of frustration, we will have a much better chance to see progress.
How Detours Help Teachers Grow
Detours Allow Us to Take in the Scenery
The beauty of a detour is that it changes the scenery and allows you to get a different view from what you see each day. Despite the frustration, the time it takes to go around the problem can offer much needed time to reflect and give you the chance to take in the beauty of the drive.
As a teacher, the responsibilities thrown your way can be so overwhelming that it becomes tough to simply slow down. Detours, however, will cause you to pause, reflect and take in the ‘scenery’ of your teaching. They will give you a moment to see the student in front of you, instead of just the task you want them to complete.
By slowing down, opening your eyes and taking in the ‘scenery’ that detours bring, you will see the importance of the beautiful path you are on to change the lives of students each day.
Detours Help Us Give Up Control
When we have to take an alternate route due to a road closure or work being done, we must give up control and seek assistance in order to succeed in our navigation. This usually comes in the form of orange detour signs posted along the way or a trusty GPS. Regardless, the control of your journey is no longer completely in your hands, and success is based on your willingness to trust others.
In teaching, there are issues that constantly arise and problems that may cause you to need assistance. Your mindset in these moments is crucial. If you refuse to relinquish control and you ignore the ‘detour signs,’ you will struggle. However, if you choose to seek assistance from those who know an ‘alternate route,’ you will have a much better chance at reaching your destination safely.
By stepping outside of your comfort zone and giving up control for a moment, you can harness the power of a ‘teaching detour.’ Be humble, remain open to new ideas and allow others to help guide you when there seems to be no way around an obstacle you come across.
Detours Show Us a New Perspective
Detours provide us with a warning about the roadblocks up ahead that we cannot see. They help us navigate around issues in order to safely arrive at our destination. Most importantly, however, detours force us to break the habits we usually fall back on and show us a new perspective.
Teachers are often called ‘creatures of habit.’ In some cases this can be a wonderful thing and can provide a much needed routine for each day. However, if you become too accustomed to your habits, great ideas can simply pass you by over time. When detours arise, they offer the opportunity to take on a new point of view. Take advantage of this when it happens, and be open to the new insights they reveal.
By embracing the roadblocks and learning from the insights they bring, your eyes can be opened to a brand new perspective that never seemed possible before.
When the detours of teaching creep into your life, do not run from them or try to barrel through them. Instead, view them as a chance to grow and gain the experience you need to become an even better teacher.
QUESTION: What other ways can teachers learn from the detours that we come across? Leave a comment by CLICKING HERE