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Following Grandpa

I remember going on family vacations when I was younger with all of my family. It was something I looked forward to each year. I got to spend a week at a beach with my cousins, crazy uncles, and all the other family members that decided to come along for a week of rest and relaxation.

Every year started the same. Everyone had to meet at my grandparents' house and leave together in a big caravan. We were then all forced to follow my grandpa, who was notorious for always driving 5 mph under the speed limit. The trips always went that way, until we stopped for the first break, which was usually for an early lunch. It was then a rush for each family to sit, eat, pay, and get out before my grandparents were done. Why? Because then we could all drive out our own, comfortable, and law-abiding pace. We were not forced to be behind my grandfather's pace. In the end, we all got safely to the beach that same day, but just different times and with much less frustration than the first part of the trip.

One of the biggest things the blended classroom has given my classes has been the ability to let them go at their own, comfortable pace. Students are no longer forced to drive behind me. I no longer feel like my grandpa holding back the caravan (although I doubt he really felt like he was holding the caravan back). Students can go at a pace that is right for them. They can go a bit faster or a bit slower on a lesson or lessons, as long as they get safely to the beach in the end,

In a way, I now feel as if my role is a lot like the AAA of years past, or the OnStar of today. I am there to provide safety, security, and navigation. I can help the students choose the safest and in some cases choose alternative routes that fit their situation, all of which are leading to their final destination. I want my students to feel safe in the travels throughout the year, and I want them to go at a pace that is comfortable to them. I don't want to hold them back, but I want to be there for students that need road-side assistance or that need alternate routes.

Blended learning helped me break free of running my class all year like my grandpa's driving. It has allowed everyone to go at a pace that is right for them, and it has made for a much more enjoyable trip for everyone. However, I will say this for my grandpa's driving, I think he knew exactly what he was doing when he decided to stop for that early lunch. I think he just wanted to make sure everyone started safely before letting them go. Last thing he would have wanted would have been for someone to be in an accident on the way to the beach, but once he saw everyone was okay, he was okay with letting them go. Maybe following Grandpa's example isn't such a bad thing after all.  

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