Human Formation & Self-Gift
In my current role as a professor, I obviously thought about how I make a gift of myself to my students, but when I think deeper about the ways in which I provide this, I see how this self-gift goes beyond just to the individual who I am assisting and teaching. I reflected on the self-gift of me removing all my fancy academic titles and scholarly work and reminded myself that I am a human – a human who can care and give love to someone in need. As a faculty member, I am evaluated every semester by students. Every year, I am evaluated by a committee on my faculty performance on teaching, research, and service. Almost every day, I am judged on whether I am an effective teacher based on my lesson delivery and my own thoughts on if the knowledge I shared makes sense. All of this makes it difficult to just take a moment to reflect and think. One of the most impactful and beautiful part of this oblate journey for me is that I am NOW making time. I am finding ways to remove myself from my work and giving time for myself.
In becoming an oblate, I see my teaching role as being significantly impacted by this journey. While my students call me “professor”, I remind them that this title does not mean that my learning has ended and that, I too, may not know answers. I also have to remind myself that certain actions and directions my students take is not always a reflection of my teachings and what I do in the classroom. They are the deciders of what actions they take. However, if I let them know that I offer support, guidance, extra help, or extended deadlines, I should not worry if they are taking advantage of this hospitality. I have set the path that I believe is right and honest. I am offering more self-gift to my colleagues and leadership in my department. I have volunteered to offer my gifts as a co-chair to our strategic planning committee, offering guidance and direction to the future of our department. In this service, I remind my colleagues that our work in education should always reflect the vocational nature of our work.