Back to School!

by Pastor Erik

Old Main, Washington & Jefferson College.

Later this month, teachers and students will return to the classroom after a year of being online or hybrid. Most years, the first day of school elicits a mixture of excitement and nervousness. This year, the new normal brings both those emotions in greater abundance. How exciting it will be to teach and learn in more routine ways! Yet there might be anxiety about lingering effects from a year of disruptions and stress, as well as the reality that many children remain unvaccinated.

For those of you who are teachers, students, and parents, I share your feelings of excitement and nervousness more than ever before. That’s because for the first time in 13 years, I am returning to the classroom. This time, it will be not as a student but as a teacher.

Somewhat unexpectedly this past Spring, I was offered a position as an adjunct professor at Washington & Jefferson College for the Fall 2021 semester. For years I’ve wondered what it would be like to teach college students, but never actively pursued an opportunity to try. But when Dr. Tara Fee, Chair of the English Department, asked me to consider teaching one section of English 111 –Composition, I prayerfully accepted the offer. (My undergraduate degree is in English.)

Starting Thursday, August 26, I will teach at W&J every Tuesday & Thursday from 9-10:45 am. I’m grateful that Avery’s Staff-Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) and Church Council have been supportive in allowing me to pursue this for at least one semester. I have not yet committed to teaching beyond Fall 2021, and I will continue to be in conversation with SPRC before committing to any future teaching.

While I anticipate minimal impact on my work here at Avery UMC, it does mean that from September to early December I’ll be unavailable for ministry from 8:30-11 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, I intend to hold regular office hours at the church building on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 am to 1 pm to make myself more reliably available for you during that time.

Feel free to reach out to me or SPRC with questions or concerns. Above all, I ask that you pray for me as I try something new with great excitement and a little bit of nervousness. Pray as well for the students I’ll be teaching, and that God will use me as I make new connections in the W&J community.

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