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Living Out ACE’s Pillars: A Letter to Second-Year Teachers

Monday, June 06, 2016 by Eric Uriegas, ACE 21 - Fort Worth

Eric Uriegas Living Out the Pillars for a Second-Year Teacher

Dear ACE 22,

Congratulations! You have successfully completed your first year of teaching and have made it to the second summer. As you get settled back on campus and focus on becoming a student once again, here are a few thoughts based on ACE’s three pillars that you should keep in mind over these next eight weeks.


As you all experienced, teaching requires so much attention and effort both inside and outside of the classroom. Use this summer to improve as an educator so that you can better serve your students next year. Reflect on everything that you’ve learned over the past year. You’ll find concepts that caused you some confusion in your first year suddenly seem to make sense during this second summer. Take time to sharpen the saw and add this summer’s coursework and research to last year’s experiences. Then, share these gifts from God with others both here and when you go back to your placement at the end of the summer.


Similar to the first summer, you need to make time to visit with your friends. In reality, you only spent 7-8 weeks with the people in your cohort last summer, but somehow you have created unbreakable bonds with so many of your classmates. Make the most of your time with them, enjoy their presence and allow those moments to rejuvenate you. One of the greatest parts of ACE is the opportunity to be surrounded by so many wonderful individuals at one time. Keep in mind that after this summer, December Retreat and graduation are the only events that will unite all of you at the same time. Give thanks to God for the opportunity to grow and learn from such wonderful disciples, and remember to make as many memories with them as you possibly can!


Spending time with others can be amazing, but do not neglect time for yourself. Many of you just finished teaching and haven’t had time to fully process the year. You have given so much to others over the past few months; I highly encourage you to make some time for yourself and reflect on those experiences. Find a “restorative niche”, something that allows you to relax and focus on your own needs. Shoot some pool in the Alumni Hall basement, sit out by the lake, or visit the Grotto. Find your own getaway and give back to yourself through quiet reflection. During that time, set goals for this upcoming year and create some action items that will enable you to reach those goals.

Know what you will experience this summer is through the grace of the Lord. It is through Him that all things are possible. He has presented you with many blessings and challenges over this past year, and will provide more as you continue on this journey. Take time to look back at these last twelve months and forward to what the future holds, but always remember that the present truly is a gift. Open it up, take in your blessings, and give thanks for the opportunity He has given to you.

Congratulations once again on completing your first year! Welcome back to ACE summer, make the best of it and have fun!

Eric Uriegas
ACE 21 Fort Worth

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. — Jeremiah 29:11