Whether used as a noun, adjective, or verb, “return” means different things at different times.
We can return to a place we love (or detest), we can have something to return to a store, or we can be discussing something that comes back, like a return flight from a warm location (I’m ready for spring already).
“Returns,” of any kind, remind us of the necessity of looking back. Sometimes, it is reflecting on a gift that is a wonderful gesture, but isn’t the right fit at the moment. Other times, it is about shifting our routines back to normalcy after an excellent vacation.
“Returns” and “reflection” have more in common than simply their starting letter. In both cases, they require us to take a moment and think; about where we were, where we are, and where we hope to be going.
In our professional spaces, the return of routines, for instance, add both comfort, and a longing for what was. When we ask students to return to their seats after an amazing mini-lesson or book talk, we’re asking them to transition to another way of learning, and another space, something that our learners’ brains must learn to do in order to help learning stick.
Even something as simple as returning a field trip form for parents, or an observation report for our educators, should lead us to reflect. What happens if I sign or if I don’t? What will my post-observation conference be about?
These aren’t questions that we should fear, but rather wonderings that should help us continue on the path of learning, and help us further differentiate the learning stages in our lives.
A “return” is not a bad thing, but rather, a point in a journey where we can reflect, and reconsider how far we’ve come, and how much further we have yet to go!