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In the Spotlight: Blair Carlin discovers her treasures

on Thursday, 13 December 2012.

"I have so much to learn both inside and outside the classroom," said this ACE Teaching Fellows (STT) applicant. "A program that enables me to...be a student and do service through my job as a teacher is the best decision I can make [toward that end]."

So said Blair Carlin, now a second year teacher in the STT program. At its annual retreat this month, she shared her thoughts about the experience, especially as it's led her to discover what she truly treasures.

As a senior at Notre Dame, she begins, "I applied to the ACE Program and I applied for a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Spain...During the first week of the ACE summer, I questioned why I declined my Fulbright acceptance and why I even applied to ACE...

"Despite the fact that I was part of a program based on community where everyone is so chipper, positive, and welcoming, I had never felt more different, alone, and out of place. Moreover, I felt as though my students did not get what I was teaching and their parents did not get that I was actually trying to help their children and not destroy them.

"However, through this darkness, when I felt like I was being a greater disservice than service to my students, their parents, my community, and ACE, I came to understand my greatest treasure: people. It was as though my relationships had to be compromised for me to see that they were my greatest sources of light."

Through her classroom experience, Blair has also come to understand teaching as a powerful way to serve that treasure. "Teaching is one of the most real and special forms of philanthropy. Teachers get to help individuals become excited about learning and help them form themselves and their beliefs. Teachers get to help their students find their treasures, which is a great treasure in and of itself."

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