Striving for Excellence

The hall resounds my footsteps as I amble down an empty hall. Not a sound besides myself occupies the hall on a dreary Tuesday morning. The occasional murmuring of one of the janitorial staff draws my attention from my fixed view of the empty diner. But overall, the most deafening noise was the silence in what should be the busy and bustling heart of Saint Xavier. But then I remembered and slapped my forehead disparagingly. On Tuesday of this week, day classes were cancelled for Faculty Development Day. It was no surprise that I was disappointed in waking up early, but then the feeling of being overjoyed replaced my disappointment. How lucky to have some free time to get homework done, socialize and just laze around. And I can assure you that I did just that. It sounds like fun and games, and it was, but beyond the face of the situation was more than just a day to laze around. Well, maybe it was like that for us students, but for the professors and educators that form the bedrock of this institution of higher learning, it was no laughing matter. That Tuesday was more than just a day for the professors to sit around in a conference room listening to someone recite a PowerPoint. It was a time for professors and another faculty at our school to continue on their path toward excellence. And make no mistake, that is the goal.

 

In the School of Education, one of the primary aptitudes that are cultivated and improved on is the pursuit of excellence. Teaching is much different than educating a person. I can teach little Jimmy not to lie to his friends or how to dig a hole for a tree sapling. He’ll do it but he won’t understand why. And that’s the biggest thing that should be asked of students. Why? Why pursue this career? Why are you here? Why does such-and-such thing happen? School should be a place that strives to build up students, to have them think critically and face the uncertainties of life with a raised chin. It should not be a place that accommodates stagnation, self-aggrandizement or sheltering oneself from ideas and beliefs different than one’s own. It is a place that educates, that shows us the world we live in and allows us the capability to lead, to think and to grow. By not challenging us, the professors would be stifling our learning and that cannot happen. That is why our school has days such as Tuesday to have professors bounce ideas back and forth and find better ways to educate the youth in an ever-changing word.

 

We get a day off, and it’s great. We get to sleep in and do nothing. We can afford that moment of lax bliss. But what students forget is the reasonings behind these things. An educator cannot afford to stand idly when the road of excellence is ever expanding outward. One can never reach the end but to not continue on the journey means an end of the journey. And when a teacher ends their journey for excellence, they cease to be an educator but an arbiter of stagnation. The sole responsibility of a teacher, an educator, is the personal growth of their students. That is what happened on Tuesday. We all know that one good teacher. For whatever reason, there is something about them that we cannot forget but somehow they have changed and touched our lives. It is because they continue on that path of excellence. They strive for it. And if you’re open to it, you will find someone like that here, too.

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