New Life and Renewed Spirit

The first year of teaching always comes with challenges. My first year as a teacher was the 2021–2022 school year, when I taught fifth grade at St. Adalbert Catholic School in South Bend, Indiana. Often, first-year teachers say that their most challenging period of the school year is October or November, when students begin having more discipline issues as they have gotten used to their new teacher. However, the most challenging time for me during my first year came during the months of February and March. It was during these months that I noticed students and teachers alike losing their sense of zeal and purpose in the classroom. These late months of winter are often cold with limited sunlight each day; the winter sports seasons have ended, yet spring sports have not yet begun, and students feel far removed from both Christmas and summer breaks. As a result, both students and teachers can feel that they are in a grind. The months of February and March in the classroom can seem to be a burden at times, making it more difficult to recognize these times as opportunities and gifts full of potential.

I now teach math at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis. This past week was Spring Break for our students and teachers. Students were able to take a break from their normal routines while traveling, visiting family, or just relaxing at home. Before their break, I had noticed many similarities from the challenges of my first year of teaching. However, when they returned from their breaks, my students came back with a renewed sense of purpose and perspective for the final quarter of the year. They were recharged and rejuvenated. Sometimes, it takes a break of routine to allow us to recognize the gifts and blessings of our daily lives rather than focusing on the burdens or challenges. 

Easter is a great opportunity for us now to renew our faith in the Risen Christ and alter our perspective. The Resurrection we celebrate provides the basis of our faith and the framework for how we ought to view the world. St. Paul wrote that, without the Resurrection, our faith is in vain. Christ is truly risen and has conquered death. He has opened the gates of paradise to us. He has ascended to Heaven and there prepares an eternal place for us. The Resurrection changes our perspective on the world and the challenges that we face because everything has been made new in Christ again. My hope and prayer for us this season is that we can live into the Resurrection that Jesus Christ offers us each day. Let us not see Easter just as a break from the normal routine, as Spring Break is for students and teachers; Easter has become our new reality. Everything has changed with the Resurrection. We no longer walk in darkness, but we walk in the light of the Resurrection with a renewed sense of purpose, zeal, and faith. Easter is our new normal thanks to the salvific mission of Jesus Christ. Alleluia! 

Published on April 1, 2024
Pictured: Deacon Brian Vetter, C.S.C., with students at St. Adalbert Catholic School

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