by Kathleen Fox
Kathleen is serving as a teaching assistant at Marian Middle School, a girls' school in St. Louis. Last week, the volunteers got back from a long weekend winter retreat in Delaware -- and Kathleen offers us this reflection on the experience.
The St. Louis volunteers discussing community life!
It is incredibly difficult to find a moment of solitude and silence in a middle school. And while the bustle of Marian is exciting and fun, it can occasionally be overwhelming. When it came time to take a four-day weekend and head to Rehoboth Beach for winter retreat, I couldn’t hop on the plane fast enough.
I was looking forward to walking along the beach and writing in my journal, a past time that I have let slip away during the busy school year. Although I was excited for our “Saturday of Silence,” it is the conversations I had with my fellow volunteers that made the retreat worthwhile.
Our group gathered as a whole for the first time since August, and yet we were able to discuss serious topics as though we’d never parted. I found comfort chatting about the difficulties of education with Molly and Caroline. We each work with education in unique ways, yet we face similar challenges such as classroom engagement and boundaries.
I was able to spend quality reflective time with my roommates. As a small community of only three, we face a unique set of challenges. We don’t have to schedule time to be together, but we have to remember that some of our time together should be more than social. We reignited our community light and refocused our community nights.
Most importantly, the retreat rekindled my desire to get up and go to work in the morning. Talking about the difficulties of work, whether it is as an educator or as a volunteer in general, reminded me of all positive things that can sometimes be overshadowed. I’d gladly take a four-day weekend, but I am happy to be well-rested and back at work.
In Their Own Words
We invite you to get to know Loretto Volunteers and the program here. Volunteers introduce themselves and reflect on their experiences.