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How Educators Live Our Ritual

For this Coffee with Celia post, we are featuring sisters who work in education.
These sisters in education have reflected on the themes “wisdom, devotion, achievement” as well as parts from the symphony and how our values impact the way they relate to their students.

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Wisdom may sound like an obvious choice for an educator to reflect upon how our Ritual impacts daily life. When I teach medical students, dental students and graduate students, I am not only imparting wisdom to the students, but much more.

I want them to reflect, to evaluate and to critically think about the matter. In preparation for teaching, I often learn new facts and ideas about the subject at hand.

My style of teaching is an interactive one, whether at the lab bench or in a more formal setting. I frequently invite dialogue, which often leads to a student bringing forth a new perspective or a challenge to old ways of thinking.

Wisdom is not something static, it is constantly shifting and evolving in ever-changing, beautiful ways. We all have wisdom to share and to gain, no matter our age or our occupation.

Carol Lutz, PhD
Epsilon Chi chapter, UNC-Chapel Hill
Associate Professor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences-New Jersey Medical School
Assistant Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

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As the Interfraternity Council advisor at the University of Maryland, it might seem strange to think that the Symphony of Alpha Chi Omega inspires me and helps me do my work on a daily basis. I am constantly surrounded by men; clearly I am not a member of any of their organizations, yet membership in my own helps me find patience, understanding and kindness with the students I work with.

To see all that is noble in another, be her badge what it may.

This line of the symphony coupled with our value of wisdom centers me in my work. Each day is a conscious journey into understanding others more completely: who they are, where they come from, how they contribute to their classroom, chapter or campus community.

This line and value remind me to be patient, stay curious and above all – let the student share their life with me in a non-judgmental, purely curious, accepting way. Each student, fraternity man or sorority woman, comes with a unique story and background that informs who they are and how they show up in my office.

The symphony reminds me to hit the “reset button” with each student, to give them the undivided attention and care that they each deserve – no matter how busy the semester gets, how many meetings or events are on the calendar. This, in turn, helps remind them that they also owe this attitude and mindset to their brothers and sisters.

The Symphony helps me create a culture of care for the individual, to see the many different fibers of our massive community, and see the amazing work students individually and collectively contribute to the Greek community at Maryland.

Christine Licata
Alpha Omicron, The Ohio State University
IFC Advisor, University of Maryland

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Oftentimes, academic goals are expressed purely in terms of achievement – that is, getting the highest grade, attaining a certain class ranking or setting the curve. One of the most important and under-emphasized parts of our Alpha Chi value system is our focus on a trifecta of values – wisdom, devotion AND achievement.

While excelling in the classroom is laudable, I try my best to encourage students to simultaneously develop all three of these values, and not just focus on the achievement part.

For college students, it’s a disservice to only impart facts and route information. Instead, professors and lectures should develop broader understandings, and prompt students to develop wisdom and an intellectual curiosity (as opposed to just knowledge).

It’s the wisdom — through scholarly devotion – that ultimately leads to achievement.

Robyn Stiles
Pi Chapter, UC Berkeley
Doctoral Student & Instructor, Louisiana State University

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When I think about my role as a teacher these words from our symphony come to my mind: “to let my lyre send forth the chords of love, unselfishness, sincerity.”

As a teacher, I consistently show my love for my students. I work at a school where there are many children from poor and/or broken homes, and I may be the only person that shows them love that day.

There may be times that I am tired or frustrated with my students; however, I have to remain selfless to ensure that their educational needs are met each day.

I also remain sincere with my students, fellow educators and parents regarding my expectations and goals for the students in my classroom.

Ashley Talbert
Theta Sigma Chapter, University of North Florida
Second Grade Teacher

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