Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein is credited with saying that, “the limits of your language are the limits of your world,” and he was right.
Language has always been so much more than just a subject for me; it is my community and my identity. I grew up bilingual, speaking English and Irish and attended a small Irish language school in County Kerry, Ireland at a time when other teenagers found Irish to be “uncool.” Though I was unaffected by this apathy at the time, I was unaware what an advantage it was to be bilingual. Additionally, I had an amazing elementary school teacher who planted the seed for me when she took our class to Paris on a school trip. I fell in love with the French culture immediately! I never thought when I was studying French that it would ultimately lead me to a teaching position in New York! I continued to develop my grá (love) for languages in college, which eventually led to my becoming an educator.
After some years teaching in a school in Ireland, I decided to take my sister’s advice and followed her across the Atlantic. Leaving a permanent teaching position was a big risk and, although my mother is from the Bronx, I had never even been to New York before so I really had no idea what to expect. Speaking another language and having a good education has certainly been my life’s passport, one that’s been undoubtedly stamped with hard work and dedication. At times, I have had to question my decisions but I was always quickly reminded by my grandmother that, “God has a plan for us all, and that I must have trust in his plan.” Her words of wisdom have given me great comfort over the years.
Once I met with Ms. Holden and Mr. Lewis on a summer’s day last August, I knew that Loyola was going to be a good fit for me. It certainly took me a while to adjust, and although I am still learning, I have certainly been open to growth more this year than ever before though there have been moments of self-doubt for sure. Grâce à (Thanks to) Ms. Buckley-Lawson and other amazing colleagues, all my fellow coaches and, of course, the kind and welcoming student faces I met, transitioning to the Loyola community was a risk worth taking after all.
Being an educator in a Jesuit school has taught me so much more than just how to be a teacher. I have learned to be vulnerable and to work through my doubts, to have confidence in my strengths and accept my weaknesses. I have always been a high achiever, and I often find myself passionate about many things such as language, culture, and sports.
It is hard to narrow down a year of experiences but some of my favorite memories from last year include: class discussions with Seniors and Juniors about their opinions on immigration, injustice, and different cultures; listening to individual stories and perspectives at the Sophomore retreat; and watching the Freshmen present their latest French music videos. Many of my highlights also come from time spent in the school gym. It is a place where one gets to connect with students outside of the usual classroom setting, a place to celebrate wins and mourn losses (mostly losses but who’s counting?!), and where I have seen female athletes on the squad develop friendships and overcome milestones on the court. These experiences all proved significant in getting to know their personalities and it was invaluable to me in my first year at Loyola.
As I embark on my second year here, I can only hope to be a better educator, a better coach, a better colleague, and a better friend to you all, while having fun and creating new memories in the meantime. If I were to give any advice to students it would be ‘Prendre la vie comme elle vient’ (to take life as it comes), try not to worry too much about the future, and just try to enjoy being in the present.
Le meas (Sincerely),