The Best Part of Teacher Training – Sr. Eileen Rice

“Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.-Charles Swindoll

I have seen this quote attributed to everyone from Lou Holtz to Dale Carnegie. The most frequent attribution is Swindoll. I use it here because it was in one of the textbooks used during my teacher training.

I am participating in the #AprilBlogADay challenge. The prompts are provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith) a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Today’s prompt is: What was you favorite part of your teacher training?

I enjoyed many things about my teacher training. I appreciated working with a small cohort through the series of courses to achieve certification. I reveled in the personal attention given each student teacher. First and foremost I am grateful for the caring, considerate staff who led us through the journey-Sr. Eileen Rice, Dee Crane, Trudy McSorley, and Sr. Pat Schnapp.

I learned so much about being a teacher from these four amazing ladies. Each of them pushed me to be a better teacher, but most importantly, they pushed me to be a better person. They led me to reflect on my craft, my life, and my faith. They pushed me to become the person I was when I graduated from college. And they have challenged me to be the person I am today.

I haven’t spoken to any of them in years. I probably last saw Sr. Pat or Dee at a play on campus, but it has been a few years since I watched a play at Siena. I last saw Trudy in 2011, when I took my daughter, Krystyn, then a high school senior, to attend a talk, on campus. by the authors of Picking Cotton: Our Memoirs of Injustice and Redemption. The book by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton, and Erin Torneo, is the story of the friendship that developed between Thompson-Cannino and Cotton after she was raped and he was wrongly convicted of the crime. (time to get back on-topic)

I last saw Sr. Eileen in December of 1993, when she taught her last class. She died in January 1994.

Sr. Eileen taught us many things in the way she lived. She was a ball of energy that never stopped working for her students or finding a home for the many orphaned cats that came across her office. She had an endless smile. Her mind was constantly working, even as cancer was tearing down her body.

She embodied the words of Stuart Scott on beating cancer.

“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

She lived with a passion for life, teaching, and her students. If you didn’t meet with her personally, you would never have known the toll it was taking on her. Her enthusiasm and energy gave you the belief that you could accomplish whatever she asked you to do.

I am grateful to have met Sr. Eileen as a freshman, when I worked in the Performing Arts and Education office. I am thankful for a chance encounter with her in 1991 that was part of my decision to return to Siena Heights in 1992. Even more importantly, I am thankful for how she exuded life even as hers was ending. It is her passion that leads me to reflect on who I am and how I want to be remembered.


Share your thoughts and comments below. I would love to engage in a conversation about your favorite memories of your teacher training, Sr. Eileen, Trudy, Sr. Pat or Dee. Please let me know what you think about my blog entries and help me to reflect and learn by commenting below.
My Commitment – April Blog a Day Challenge
I have joined the #AprilBlogaday Challenge. The goal is to submit a blog entry every day in April. I will not promise each blog entry will be motivational, energetic, and thought-provoking. However, I will do my best to continue to reflect on my journey of learning and my areas of growth.