As I walk through the doors of Loyola Academy of St. Louis every morning, my heart is filled to the brim with exuberance and excitement. I walk by the front desk and say good morning to our administrative secretary on my way back to my office. I am usually stopped by a few students asking for high fives and good mornings. When I finally get to my desk, put down my things, look up at my schedule, I say to myself “Today is going to be a long one.” The day whips by as I have been submerged in a pool of classes, lesson planning, grading, proctoring, and student interaction. I have very little awareness of time and operate mostly on auto pilot . . . knowing where I am supposed to be. When the final bell rings at 5:30 pm, I gather my things, stuff them into my bag, and put on my coat to head out for the day. As I make my way to the door, I am usually confronted by students asking about homework, additional assistance on assignments, and disputes about discipline points they have received that day. With little to no energy left to give a well thought out response, I tell students to leave a note of my desk and I will look at it in the morning.
This is the daily routine of my time at Loyola Academy, surging with energy early in the day and leaving absolutely tapped out. I know that may sound mundane and lifeless, but it is, in fact, the exact opposite. That energy that comes with me in the morning is there solely because I believe I can make a difference, one day at time. As a teacher, students look to me for answers and I am more than willing to guide them through whatever it is they need. Beyond that, that same energy is used to act as mentor and advocate for our students. Amidst the classes and the lesson planning, our students are asking questions about real life and what that looks like. They are seeking advice on how to best navigate their way through their educational journey and making a ton of mistakes while doing so. It is my job to give these students all the tools they need to be successful and many times those tools are not something that we teach in our curriculum. Our students are equipped with these by asking those big questions and by making those mistakes that we must help them correct. It is not a glamorous process by any means, but it is a necessary one.
That energy that is seemingly absent at the end of all my days is very much radiating throughout the hallways of our school and in the minds of our students. I am tired because I care and I know that every day I go to work, I have given my all to my students. The fatigue is good & fulfilling. It lets me know that have done a good day’s work without anyone else having to acknowledge that. The fruits of my fatigue are not ones that I will ever bear or get to experience in the fullest, but I have nurtured it in the hopes that it will reach and realize its full potential for the betterment of self and society.