My next and final stop before heading home was Prague, in the Czech Republic. It was bittersweet to know that within a few days we would be heading back to the United States, so with this in mind, we let Prague be our city of adventure.
This city hit home for me the moment we touched The Charles Bridge. This bridge was built in the 1300’s and was the sole source for crossing the Vltava River; connecting the Prague Castle to the Old Town.
Today it is a wonderful tourist attraction still lined with statues of saints (including Saint Ignatius…which having gone to a Jesuit high school and now college, I appreciated)…many of which people touch or rub for good luck. Beyond the saint statues, during the day the bridge is filled with a number of artists, street performers, and people selling different objects they made, such as bracelets or hair clips. It was amazing to me that so many people from all over the world with such different back grounds came to see this amazing bridge filled with creativity and sacred entities all smiling, laughing, and above all, worshiping.
It was thrilling to see the difference between the two towns the bridge connected, but it was even more thrilling to think of how many different types of emotions this bridge brought to people. Standing on this bridge I took a moment to think about the four pillars that Marquette builds its philosophies upon: Excellence, Faith, Leadership, and Service. Here on this bridge, I felt a kind of faith that I never thought I would imagine.
Faith doesn’t mean having to be Catholic or believing in a certain religion; it means having confidence and belief in something…something you may not be able to prove…something that you put your whole heart into. On this bridge there were people filled with faith: faith in their paintings, faith in bright futures, faith in their religions…it was breathtaking. For me, to be a great teacher, it is important to not only have faith in oneself, but in his or her students as well.
I thought about my future, standing in front of a class of teenagers, wondering whether or not my lessons would be engaging…truth is, students are in school to learn…as future educators, we are shaping the minds of tomorrow…the future doctors, lawyers, parents, and even teachers of tomorrow.
It is important to have faith, and as a teacher-to-be, I will never forget how Prague shaped my understanding of Marquette’s pillars. Wherever life takes me, these pillars will always be part of who I am when I teach. All people who pursue the joy of teaching for a profession must remember to have faith in their classrooms and in all that they do…seek it out everywhere…after all, if you don’t believe in something, who will?