With a touch I chose English and the screen changes. I select “MetroCard” and then “Refill your Card.” Following directions, I insert my MetroCard. I read the existing balance for the card.
Decision Time: Do I add “value” or do I add “time”?
What’s the best value? What are my plans? Where will I spend my “out of session/meet up with friends” time?
What have I used in the past? What examples do I remember from Allison and Julieanne those first trips?
These are once or twice a year decisions that seem to leave me unprepared. I question the accuracy of my memory. I question the expenditures. Which type of addition to the card is really the best investment? The decision is not automatic because it only occurs once or twice a year. Not enough practice. No automaticity.
It is also not automatic because mass transportation is not my thing. No metro on the farm. No metro in my nearby hometown of 6,000. No metro in any of my college towns. No metro in the timber at my end of the county. Yes, I often ride a train on football Saturdays, but that train still issues one-use paper tickets purchased from a live vendor over a counter. No Metro Vending Machine!
“When will I use this?”
Students love this question. Many teachers despise this question while others rise to the challenge. If I had been taught any lessons about mass transit growing up, I am sure I would have wondered about the practicality of their application.
Maybe the question reframed becomes: Is there durability to my learning?
When will I need this? becomes When will I use this?
These questions surface in the moment when work/life seem fairly trivial.
Is it the need for purpose? Is it the need for connections? Or is it the need to know that the learning is valuable and I can trust that all will be revealed at some time?
As we continue on life’s journey, keep these questions in mind:
Why does this matter?
How can what I do also help others?
And reflect: Is it the value or the time?
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum in March. Check out the writers and readers here.