I woke up this morning and felt, momentarily, a surge of joy: it's Friday. Then, rolling over and checking the time on my cell-phone, I noticed that, in fact, it is only Thursday. Two more days to go in this first week of school!
The first week is always tough. Getting to know ~120 new names and faces just in my classes plus other students seen in the corridors is daunting. Three courses, five classes, including two brand-new courses, makes for what seems to be demand for constant preparation. Throw onto this that our major fundraiser is on October 4th and is quickly followed by our Fall Rally on the 7th and Homecoming on the 8th...events, ultimately, I am responsible for planning and executing. Add to this that a number of my students claim that their books are on back order, so I've been delaying any major reading assignments by a few days in order to give the books a chance to arrive. This means both that I am without the security blanket of a text to work off of and that I have to find ways to edutain (educate and entertain) large groups of students for several days.
I feel swamped, a bit overwhelmed, and I couldn't be happier. I hate being idle and I rather like the constant demands that are placed upon me. Granted, I do get tired of the incessant chorus of, "Mr. Duns, hey, Mr. Duns! SJ! SJ! Abba! Abba Duns, I have a question..." I think I know now something of what schizophrenia must feel like, except that I'm pretty certain that the voices I hear really do come from outside of me (I'm pretty clever sometimes, but the insane things students ask me confirms that the voices are external: I couldn't make up some of their questions).
All in all, the year is off to a good start. I'm excited for what is to come and I am grateful that I have a brilliant community situation to come home to each evening. I hold diocesan priests in increasingly high regard because I simply can't imagine working as they do without the support of a supportive community of brothers. While my fellow Companions of Jesus might have different approaches in the classroom or in our various ministries, we are all united by a common mission to 'help souls.' Our shared mission and mutual support provides tremendous grace and consolation in my life, providing me with the strength to cross the classroom's threshold each day to teach for God's Greater Glory.