My first day of classes, all the way back in August, was a nerve-wracking day, and the fact that my first class wasn’t until 6th period, allowed those nerves to build up even more. When it finally came time for that 6th period class, I was pleasantly surprised. I taught two sections of junior theology first semester, and I was very glad that I had juniors, because they already knew each other and were very comfortable at school – especially coming from lunch, on the first day. I was relaxed and not worried about what I was going to do or say on that first day. It allowed me to develop a relationship with and feel comfortable teaching them very quickly.
The first semester of my ASC year at Rockhurst High School(Kansas City, MO) has been filled with many things. As a teacher I have experienced peaks and valleys. I have learned many things and grown in many ways, and I have experienced the disappointment of a student not doing his best but then that same student turning around and making a positive out of that previous shortcoming. I have encountered so many new experiences this year; but, as great as teaching at Rockhurst has been, it has also been very difficult. There are days when students pay attention, inquire, ask further questions about the topics that we’re discussing; but, there are also days when they don’t really care, are silent, or just can’t stop talking. I’ve made lessons that students find interesting, but then I’ve also made lessons that they barely respond to. Figuring out how to make the most out of every day and make sure that I do my best is a daunting task, but it’s worth it.
I’m teaching theology and it’s been great to teach students material that actually applies to their lives in a real way. When we discussed the philosophies of Aristotle, Kant, Utilitarianism, as well as the teaching of the Catholic Church, they think in a deeper way about morality and what is right or wrong. Teaching them about ethics is a responsibility that I’m very blessed to have had the opportunity to do last semester.
This first month of the second semester has been similar to but also quite different from the first. I’m more prepared and able to make a lesson and effectively teach it to my classes. I’m much more familiar with the school and the people here. I’m also a lot busier. I’m teaching a freshman and a junior class this semester, so I now have two lessons to plan every day. I just finished coaching freshman basketball, and I will begin helping coach golf in a couple of weeks, and this is in addition to the various tasks that ASCs are asked to help with throughout the year.
The most important thing for me to remember is that doing my best requires trusting in God and finding God’s presence in my daily life. Being aware and mindful in my actions does so much good in all aspects of my life, especially when things are difficult. It can be tough to not be overwhelmed by the amount of work that I have, but prayer has been a great way for me to just slow down. Praying the Rosary or an Examen, going to adoration, receiving spiritual direction, or reading a religious/spiritual book have all been great ways for me to focus on God and not become overwhelmed. So, slowing down and dwelling on God’s presence is a gift that I have become much more appreciative of this year, because it’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of being a first year volunteer teacher.