You have to be somewhat crazy to teach 17 year olds. I’ve realized this quickly over the past 2 and a half weeks. My main motivation is to come in every day with a sense newness and God.
To do this, I’ve made it a point to run to and from school as many days as I can. Currently, it has been 4 days a week (excluding Fridays). Running is where I am able to experience God and spirituality. It is about 7 miles from our ASC house to Regis Jesuit High School (Denver, CO). Most of the route is through a huge state park named Cherry Creek Park. The scenery is something like out of U2’s Joshua Tree album. Running through the Denver altitude, the route usually takes me about 55 minutes. During those minutes is where I can find spirituality. The morning runs consistently have a proper sunrise and provide time for me to energize myself for the day and for our students. The afternoon runs are more difficult. After a day of teaching and coaching, I would rather just eat and rest. But, again, the experience of feeling God in my life motivates me to tie my shoes and head back home, using my own two feet. I have found that the runs after school are where I am able to reflect on my day and find ways to be a more effective teacher. These runs are also a big stress reliever. Even if it wasn’t the best day, I am only one run away from making it a good day.
Over the years of running, my motivation has changed. At first running was about being fast and meeting a certain time. This motivation has changed, especially recently. It is now about simply putting myself in a good place to teach. Now, I don’t care about how fast I go or the time it takes, rather the experience motivates me. It is about the 55 minutes, or about 2 hours per day when I run to AND from school, that I have music in my ears (usually U2 playing too loudly) and transporting myself using my own two feet. It is amazing how much running can change my mood.
My advice to my fellow ASCs: find your way to experience God so that He may be present in your classroom. Put yourself in a position to succeed. While we may be way too busy this year, set aside time for God. He must be present in our lives so that He may be present in our classrooms. Sometimes that means waking up before the sun.