Thursday, September 01, 2011

Then Peter said to Jesus, "Teacher, it is good for us to be here..."
Mark 9:5

Where, exactly, did August go? I can hardly believe it's already September 1... and yet, I also feel like a lot is different since the last time I blogged, I barely know where to start! Lesson from this... blog more often! :)

The last time I blogged I had been back in Dayton for about a week and I was preparing to step back into the world of high school – the world of endless questions and adolescent drama… Friday night football games and passing notes during study hall… rolling eyes and searching hearts… faculty commiserating and TGIF gatherings… Kairos retreats and the morning Pledge of Allegiance...

Now that I’m back, I have to say it is, indeed, good to be here!

I've never believed that I am the world's greatest teacher - and that is confirmed with each class period... And try as I might, it is really difficult to get 15 & 16 year olds to be excited about Scripture (at least not visibly... it's just not "cool")... But, even in light of these realities, I enjoy going to work every day. 7 years ago when I left Central Catholic in San Antonio I wasn't sure that I would ever return to the classroom or to a high school for any reason. It's amazing how a little maturing on my part, a recognition of my passions, and a much broader perspective on life & faith can make such a difference.

I've learned a few things in recent weeks. Allow me to share those with you...

  • Being a morning person or a night person really does have an impact on the work you do. Yes, there are teachers who are not morning people... and they're good teachers. And there are campus ministers on college campuses who are morning people... and they're good at what they do. But wow... it certainly is something when what you do matches your body's natural rhythms.

  • I am now old enough to be the parent of the students I teach. Let that one soak in. It doesn't bother me, necessarily. It's just odd, really. But what's good about that is that I am far enough removed from their experience that there is a level of respect for me as "elder" (Yikes! I don't like that word).

  • I'm still in a time of transition from campus minister to teacher. There is a difference. As a campus minister there is a different rapport with students than as teacher. It's subtle and nuanced, but it's there. Well, at least for me. And part of it probably has to do with changing age groups. High school and college are such different worlds...

  • Technology has come a long way since the last time I taught. On "Meet the Teacher Night" I said something about an overhead projector to the parents. There's no overhead in my classroom... there's a projector mounted to the ceiling with a remote I'm not always sure how to use. :) And I now carry a school issued laptop to my classroom and to my study hall - that's how I take attendance and project class notes. Crazy. In all honesty, I kinda miss the overhead. Who would have thought?

Of course, I paint this picture as if everything is coming up roses. And any of you who have experience with young people know that it can't be like that all the time...

For instance, I accused a student of lying about something a few days ago... Accused is probably too strong of a word, but it's the best word for this situation. I made an assumption and anyone with experience should know better. Since when do I assume the worst without reason? Where did that come from? That was eye -opening to me. Am I so jaded that I assume someone is not being honest? I don't think so, but it is an interesting question. And it's certainly something on which I should reflect...... I also held someone after class on the first day of school because of his behavior. Really? The first day of school? I never would have done that 7 or 10 years ago... Interesting.

Honestly, I think these particular things have to do with not wanting to be a push over or the teacher that gets walked on. And there's a valid reason for that to be a concern. However, there's a balance on which I'm still working.

However, the bottom line is this was a good move for me and I am grateful. I miss the students at UD and my former colleagues, of course. My hope is to find a way to continue connecting with them.

And so. There you have it. There's always more I could say... but I'm at school and I have work to which I should attend. I hope to blog again soon. Until then...

Many blessings to all who read this!
Sr. N

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