Something We All Need

6a010536d75286970b0115705c25d6970bBy Aubrey Murtha — Just take a quick look at the biographies of the bloggers on this site.

You will see evidence that many of my “peers” are extraordinarily accomplished educators.  In addition, many possess advanced degrees in highly regarded fields of study and can rightfully boast of rich and rewarding careers.

For me, an undergraduate freshman in the College of Education, these individuals serve as shining examples of success and dedication, hard work and passion. However, despite their slightly intimidating credentials, I believe we are all on a level playing field when it comes to one thing—we all need reassurance.  We all need to know that what we are doing is the right path for us, that we are fulfilling our life’s destiny or appropriately living out our vocations.  We need to love and feel loved by our students. 

For some, this feeling of reassurance is merely a byproduct of the daily task of teaching.  For others, however, it comes in a single moment of clarity—a sudden epiphany.  The latter is the case for me.

In high school, I volunteered as a tutor in one of Milwaukee’s Catholic, urban elementary schools for four years.  In addition, I was a paid tutor for a neighborhood family.  As a senior in high school, I taught faith formation classes to my parish’s Confirmation candidates.  However, I did not experience that profound sense of reassurance until I began my service learning here at Marquette.

I was placed at one of Marquette’s neighboring schools, a year-round, public, urban campus that serves grades six through twelve.  Here, I served as an assistant forensics coach for middle school students interested in public speaking, poetry, writing, and acting.  The kids were wonderful and enthusiastic, and, for the most part, were surprisingly receptive to me.  One day, I was talking to one of the male students, your typical sassy, slightly disengaged thirteen year old dude with a real talent for writing and a passion for skateboarding.  He was going off about how tired and bored he was, and I responded with a stern reminder that he had signed up for the club, and therefore, we expected his full participation.

Suddenly, he looked up at me and said abruptly, “Hey, what is your last name!”

I was surprised by the question and looked quizzically at him.  He said it again, this time louder.  I responded with a sensible question, “Why do you want to know?”

“Just tell me!” he yelled.

Impatiently, I told him, “Murtha.  Murtha is my last name.”

He got very quiet as if pondering the very nature of my response, looked up at me and whispered, “Hm.  Ms. Murtha.  That is a great teacher name.  You will make a really good teacher someday, Ms. Murtha.”

I was so stunned I lost my breath for a second.  Then, a huge smile spread across my face, and I got a bit blurry-eyed.  This was it.  My moment of clarity.  This sassy little treasure of a boy had unknowingly provided me with that sense of reassurance that we all so desperately need.  I am where I am supposed to be.

1 Response to “Something We All Need”

  1. 1 Nicole Jaffke January 26, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Aubrey has a gift for writing! So talented and incredibly honest. I love the point of view of a freshman and the quest for knowledge. Keep writing awesome blogs!


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