When she first started driving, she was extremely nervous and unsure of herself. Who wouldn’t be? Her knowledge of how to handle a 4,000 pound vehicle was limited to the reading she had completed in an online permit class and two hours behind the wheel with a certified instructor.
Our first time driving was around and around (and around and around) a parking lot at the local community college. It was a Saturday, and the lot was remarkably empty. There she learned how her car responded to steering and brakes. She practiced coming to a complete stop and signaling her intentions. When she was confident, we drove around the campus a few times so that she could practice adjusting speed and navigating turns. And then it was time to hit the streets.
Not even a block away from campus, driving through a quiet neighborhood, a BMW appeared behind us. Impatient with my daughter’s driving, he immediately started tailgating her and honking his horn. Her anxiety rose exponentially, and I could see every bit of confidence drained from her face. As soon as was possible, she pulled off the road. He honked as he passed, and she refused to keep driving.
A few weeks later, I ordered a magnetic bumper sticker from Amazon that read, “Please Be Patient Student Driver”
It makes me wonder, what signs would our students wear if they could design their own? Would they ask for more patience because of a rough night at home? Would their sign acknowledge a struggle with reading? Or ask for more encouragement during independent work time? Our students may not be wearing signs, but we do know that they all need our patience and support and love as they learn to navigate their own roads.
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