For the first time in about nine months, I went back to the front of the classroom. No, I didn’t revert to my old middle school principal self, but Ann and I did spend a day working with all of the ninth grade Language Arts students at our town’s high school. It was an interesting experience signing in as a visitor when I’d had a key to the place just a few months ago.

Signing in, Crete High School, Crete Nebraska

Steve signs into the school, this time as a visitor.

A local teacher, Rachel Haider, contacted us about a month ago and asked if we’d be willing to be guest presenters as part of the freshmen class’ unit on journeys. Students are working toward a final unit essay question that asks when the journey is more important than the destination.

Crete High School question, Crete, Nebraska

The question of the day.

She felt that because we’ve taken a good number of trips we’d bring a unique perspective to the class. The fact that the students knew us might help make it a bit more real for them. We were happy to help.

We met with Ms. Haider, and the other 9th grade Language Arts teacher, Trent Framke. We decided that we’d choose some blog posts and students would pre-read at least one of them, write a 6-10 sentence summary of it, and then answer some questions like, “What was more important, the journey or the destination? Why?” “What did the Tegets learn on this journey?” and “What advice for your life can you draw from this blog post?” We’d then have this as a basis for our class discussions.

Completed Assignment, Crete High School, Crete, Nebraska

A student’s completed assignment for our class discussion.

In case you’re curious, we chose six posts: “Five Things we learned judging the National Indian Taco Championships in Pawhuska,” “Music for the soul,” “A great pit stop for midwest travelers,” “Following our hearts to St. Kitts,” “Nebraska’s Nicest #1 — Innkeeper Jeanne Goetzinger,” and “Leaving I-80 for a better view.” We picked these because we felt they had a nice mix of local, state, national and international travel. We also hoped that every student might find something of interest somewhere in that mix of topics. Finally, we hoped that each post was unique enough that answers to the teachers’ questions wouldn’t necessarily be the same.

Crete High School class, Crete, Nebraska

Steve and Ann pose for a picture with students who are mastering the English language.

Well, let me just say that I’d forgotten how long a school day can be when you are presenting and re-presenting material seven times with three minutes of break sprinting to the bathroom in between. Still, we had a wonderful day connecting with students, hearing their take on our articles, and answering their questions about our travels as well as journeys in general. And let me just say that I was impressed by the effort I saw from some of my former students on this assignment.

Crete High School commons, Crete, Nebraska

The commons of Crete High School.

At the end of the day, we knew that we’d made a difference when one student found us in the hall and said that he hoped to travel one day. And we knew that students understood the importance of travel when they told us of the lessons they’d gleaned from our articles, lessons like, “you can find a little happiness anywhere,” and, “It’s important to get to know new people in your life because they can take you somewhere beautiful.”

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  • Florida is a wonderful place to go in the winter. There you'll find sunshine and warmth while much of the rest of the country is experiencing the chill of winter. We love seeing the plants and flowers in bloom when we visit.
  • When our daughter, Meghan, was younger, she wanted an affordable, easy to store souvenir from her travels with her mom. She settled on pencils. Over the years, she's collected a couple hundred pencils from various destinations including the ones that others have given to her. She keeps them in a jar in her apartment, creating a great conversation piece.
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  • There is nothing quite like preparing a perfect dish in your own kitchen. Courtesy of @thechefandthedish, Ann prepared a traditional Spanish paella with Cyndi Kane, a.k.a. Ree Drummond's BFF Hyacinth. Sure, learning to make the dish was fun. Savoring the meal, and the friendship that went with it, was the best part of that great afternoon.
  • In the chilly, pre-dawn light of an early spring day on the Platte River in central Nebraska you can be sure of one thing: soon you'll witness one of nature's greatest spectacles, tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes taking to the air for a day of foraging for food. If you have never witnessed this incredible sight, you must make sure you @visitnebraska so you can experience this for yourself. @visitKearney
  • A good cocktail is an experience. Instead of just having a drink to throw back, we love savoring a well-crafted beverage. Something we love about @celebritycruise is that good cocktails are easy to find. We aren't huge drinkers. Instead, we are strong believers in quality over quantity.
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