by Lisa Bullard
I think road-tripping together should be a requirement for every couple contemplating life partnership. There are few other circumstances that allow you to so quickly learn about how someone navigates through life.
Would you rather plan the whole trip in advance, or just get in the car and drive? Do you stop and ask for directions, or go ahead and get lost? Hotel room or camper? Talk radio or hip hop? Speed limit or speedster? Healthy or unhealthy foods? Good tipper or bad?
Riding together tells me almost everything I need to know about a person.
So does writing together. In fact, one of the quickest tricks I have for getting to know a new group of students is to pose a “would you rather…?” writing prompt for them.
For example, I might prompt: “If you had to choose, would you rather have the power of invisibility, or ﬂight?” Then I’ll ask them to write about their choice for ten minutes. Here’s what I’ve found:
“Invisibility” kids often worry that things are being kept from them, that there are important secrets they don’t know. Sometimes they love being sneaky. Sometimes they want to become invisible to bullies. Invisibility can be about revenge, or power, or compiling information.
“Flight” kids often crave freedom. They sense that they don’t know enough about the world. Sometimes they feel superior. Sometimes they crave escape. Flight can be about expanding their horizons, or seeing a different point of view, or pushing themselves beyond the limits.
In other words, by writing out an answer to this one simple question, students end up telling me an enormous amount about who they are and what they want from the world.
Would you rather go east or west? Think carefully: your answer might tell me more than you could ever guess.