Back in the Classroom Again

Do you remember the scene in Titanic where old Rose prefaces her recollections about the fated voyage by saying, "It's been 84 years"? In a roundabout way, that's how I feel about returning to teach on campus tomorrow. For me, it's only been 18 months since I've stepped foot into a real classroom with real humans, yet tomorrow somehow feels monumental.

Over the past few weeks, I've set up course websites and syllabi. I've attended orientation meetings. I've updated my parking pass. I've troubleshot technology. I've tried to recall the many passwords that enable me to access my office, the mail room, and the copy machine. (This task was a tall order. I stood outside my office door facing this keypad, unable to conjure the 5-digit code from my long-term memory, hoping my fingers retained it in muscle memory. They didn't.)


But, more than any other concrete task, what solidifies the start of the semester is when I tour my classrooms, walking up and down each row, praying over each desk and chair, asking God for protection, favor, wisdom, peace, and well-being for every student who will share these next 15 weeks with me. This is when the semester starts to become real. This is when I feel ready to go. This time of consecration settles parts of me that feel unsettled during the transition into a new school year, especially this year, which feels unfamiliar and tenuous. 

I don't know what these next months will hold. Will we remain in person the whole semester? Will we pivot back to online classes if the Delta variant causes Covid rates to surge? How might the influx of nearly 50 thousand university students affect our local town or our local K-12 school schedules?

I don't know. Nobody does. We're still living with more questions than answers.

In spite of the questions, after 84 years -- okay, just 18 months -- I'm eager to meet new students masked face-to-masked face tomorrow. And no matter what happens in the weeks that follow, God goes with me. All will be well.


  1. Although my daughter doesn't have you for class,as a parent of an incoming freshman at PSU, I am grateful for your prayers for each student that will be seated at those desks! Blessings to you as you start this new semester!

    1. Thank you, Denise! I hope your daughter has had a smooth start to her semester!


Back to Top