A New Kind of Journey
By Hope Buckner
I sat in those seats – in fact, I was a student at Belmont when the very building I’m teaching in was the newest one on campus. I remember walking the halls as a tour guide my sophomore year and the classrooms I sat in as a student throughout my years on campus. Now, though, I’m in this room for a very different reason. Though I’ve been a member of the Belmont community for nearly 10 years (as an undergraduate student, graduate student, alumna and now full-time staff member), when I entered Inman 342 early this semester, I found myself in a very different role.
As I prepared to teach my first class in January, I sought out a lot of advice. I was told many things—but one of the most poignant in my mind came the night before classes began. As I was reviewing my notes one last time and checking my syllabus for final details, I heard from a colleague. Passing along final blessings before my first day she said, “I suspect you will want to remember tomorrow, your first day teaching, always.” I wasn’t aware of the meaning of her words initially, but now, just 4 months later, they resonate with such truth.
I’m not sure that I’ve developed what will ultimately become my teaching style, I know there are plenty of times when I confused things that should have been clear and there’s no doubt that some of my ‘rockstar ideas’ flopped when put into practice – but the ways in which my students have embarked on a valuable, intentional journey of engaged learning has been some of the most meaningful moments of my time at Belmont.
They’ve trusted my leadership, participated whole heartedly, completed assignments and engaged with the process—all with the goal of learning as much about nonprofit leadership and fundraising as they possibility could. And I’ve been amazed at the ground we’ve been able to cover.
Forever and always, as long as I continue teaching (which I hope to be quite lengthy), may each semester, each month, each class begin with the mentality that accompanied this one. May I continue to desire to craft experiences my students will want to remember—always. May I lead them down paths of discovery that are meaningful, evoke so many unanswered questions and continue to make them think—always. May my classroom be conducted in a spirit of curiosity, inclusivity, thoughtfulness, intentionality, community-mindedness that invites their responses, their best thinking, their truest levels of themselves—always.