In Chicago, we have a term called “Gapers Block”. It is an event on a road where traffic is jammed up due to motorists slowing down and/or stopping due to some distraction on the side of the road. In some cases it is a fender bender, a dead animal, or even someone answering the call of nature. When you finally get through the traffic and see what was causing the problem you get mad that people slowed up traffic for something silly.
Too often in schools we like to admire problems and develop a “Gapers Block”. Whether it is students, politics, budgets, or our personal lives, it is easy to complain. Spinning our wheels is something we teachers can get very good at. It is easier to complain than deal with an actual problem. We like to find company in our complaining and seek others out to share stories of the problems in our classrooms, our schools, our states, and our profession. It’s easy and sometimes it makes us feel better…if only for a little bit. However, when the conversation is over, the problem still exists.
We need to focus on keeping traffic moving and not focus on what is at the side of the road. Problems will come and go, but we need to stay focused on moving forward and not admiring the old man peeing on the side of the road.