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Center for Catholic Education at UD

Student Interns Live the Adventure!

By Elena Niese

Navigating the road between childhood and adulthood is a difficult one. I have experienced this transition in a very real way these past months as a student intern with the Teacher Education department. Afternoon coffee runs and late night conversations have become traded for early mornings, professional dress, and grading student essays. It has been quite the transition to say the least, but even more so it has been a wonderful adventure.

When Pope St. John Paul II proclaimed that life with Christ is a wonderful adventure, he never promised it would be easy. He did, however, promise that it would be worth it. As I read these reflections from fellow teachers in my Adolescent to Young Adult cohort on how they pursue holiness in their day-to-day as a teacher, I discovered newfound encouragement in this adventure no matter the difficulty. 

Jordan McCormick, a Secondary Religious Education student, captures this encouragement well. She states, “I seek to begin each day with the reminder that, "This day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your refuge" (Nehemiah 8:10). Each day is good and holy, filled with great purpose, even amidst the chaos and stress we may encounter in student teaching. I seek to remind myself and my students of who God calls us to be as also set apart for some purpose, for mission, and to recognize that we too are good and holy. I find peace in knowing that there is not a single moment that is ordinary to God, that He, literally, "gives life to all things and makes them holy!" Each moment is a gift, even the most difficult ones. Jordan reminds us to always seek this purpose and mission in our work, transforming even the most ordinary moments of teaching into extraordinary encounters with our God.

Andrew Buchanan, a Secondary English and Religious Education student, shares much of Jordan’s sentiment. He comments on the profundity of the educator’s role stating, “Educators hold a special role in society and in the lives of youth and when we approach it in a Christian way, we are able to care for each person we encounter, build relationships with them, and encounter Christ.” Yet, he also acknowledges the struggle amidst the adventure of teaching, too. He states, “Yes I am still a student and always face a mountain of work, but I find God in the little moments of welcoming a student into the classroom, putting meme on a slideshow, or meeting students where they are to answer a question.” Christ is found in these small acts of service and sacrifice. We are Christ to our students when we embrace these moments, too. May each of us be attentive to these daily invitations as we embrace teaching’s many inevitable challenges.

For ultimately, our vocation as teachers is to be as Christina Zaso, a Secondary English and Religious Education student, reminds us “a witness of Christ's love to our students.” She continues stating, “From asking them how their day or weekend was to valuing their opinion and comments in class, the ability to respect their dignity and worth within the ordinary day exemplifies how holiness transforms the ordinary to extraordinary.” 

Living holiness in the everyday ordinary of teaching can truly become an extraordinary adventure! As we prepare for and reflect upon the many challenges that have and will continue to greet us each day in this profession, may we as teachers be not afraid to open wide the doors to Christ and live this adventure with newfound joy and conviction.  


Edited by Ava Gravino.

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