Yesterday, a student

of the college was walking out of the student association offices. She happens to be the president of the student association who I had met only a few days before at a Soup and Substance gathering. Soup and Substance brings together people from across the campus to talk about a reading on Catholic identity in the university. The discussion is hosted by a Christian Brother, and we, from the community, come together over soup, meeting at the Christian Brother community dining table to chat. As someone who grew up with a very traditional Catholic but no longer considers herself Catholic, it was still exciting to engage in the dialogue.

It was there that I met the new student body president who also expressed an interest in becoming a secondary teacher in the future, perhaps later working in higher education with resident life. While I do not teach undergraduates at this point, if she is an example of the quality of the undergraduate student body, I am impressed. I was returning home – I live on campus – from the School of Education’s award ceremony for scholarship recipients, and ran into the student. We ended up having a really detailed conversation about the college, the School of Education, amazing professors, theories and their application, backgrounds, etc. It was an exciting conversation.

It was a moment that made me feel the privilege of being a professor at a liberal arts, teaching-centered institution. While I am interested in research and plan on conducting a number of studies in the coming months and years, I find that interaction with students to be so explosively engaging. THAT is why I get up in the morning; it’s why I find myself here, in my office, typing this blog, after spending some time researching websites to post on Blackboard for my students. It’s those moments of engagement that electrify me.

I definitely miss working with high school students. I especially miss working with military dependents. Perhaps some day I will go back to that. For now, though, I am definitely starting to find my stride in working with future teachers.

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