The first couple weeks for the school year are behind us. The crazy, unorganized days, scheduling nightmares, and curriculum “refreshments” are in our rearview mirror, and some of us are still on the road. Whether or not we are in the correct lane is still up for debate.
Thankfully, we have been able to spend a good amount of time getting to know our new students. It is probable that right about now they are beginning to show their true selves which they might have hidden from us during our first moments together as a class. It’s usually around this time we start looking for their strengths and weaknesses both academically and behaviorally. We want to know what they can and can’t do to make the drive a little smoother throughout the year.
Some are already attached to our cars while others might be riding smoothly behind us. Regardless of where they are, each student is forced to follow us down the one lane street of this educational year. Where we take them only God knows.
That is why it is so important that we take time to cool down our engines, fill up our gas tanks, and geta tune up every now and then. We can do this by entering into the many Rest Areas that Jesus calls us to through Retreat.
There are two types of retreat that Christian Teachers should practice regularly. External retreat and Internal retreat.
External retreat requires us to leave our common daily tasks and physically travel to a place where we can remain in communion with God through reflection and prayer. It is meant to help us escape from our worldly lives and partake in the presence of Jesus for an extended amount of time. It is recommended that we commit ourselves to taking at least one External Retreat each year. That is why Winter, Spring and Summer breaks are great times for Teachers to take an External Retreat.
Internal retreat is something we should practice a little more often. Actually, it is what we should practice a LOT more often. Internal retreat allows us to look within our souls to find Christ inside of us. There, we see Him for what He is, and He begins to work through us. When we make Interior retreat a common practice, we are constantly reminded of our mission, His will and how the two are united in our act of Teaching.
St. John Baptist De La Salle stresses the importance of these two methods of retreat in his work “Means that Brothers Can Use To Become Interior”:
We must practice exterior retreat,
1. because it removes all ideas of the world and things of the world;
2. because it takes away our relish of creatures, detaches us from them, and in this way enables us to attach ourselves only to God;
3. because when we love it, we acquire an aversion for the world and created things, so that we can say with Saint Paul, “The world is crucified to me, and I am crucified to the world.
We must practice interior retreat,
1. because exterior retreat is of little use if it is not joined to interior retreat
2. because when interior powers are withdrawn from outward things, the soul acquires great facility in being occupied with God;
3. because while it lasts, interior retreat creates in us a sort of compulsion to be occupied with God and the things of God.
May we continue on the road of our student’s education with us in the driver’s seat, Jesus on the passenger side and many retreats throughout the day to fill us up with spiritual strength.
Live Jesus in our hearts forever!