VF Day 16-18: Finding Joy in the Long, Flat Road & Teaching

By on June 19, 2022

This long flat road from Santhia to Pavia reminds me first of the Meseta on the Camino Frances only longer. My photos are all same, I am tired of the views, and my inspiration isn’t coming like it was just a few days ago. It also reminds me of how a 15 week semester can feel.

Finding the beauty when the terrain doesn’t change

At the beginning of the semester everyone is filled with excitement, the students are diligently reading the assigned chapters, and they have set lofty goals for the term. Even after 24 years, I am inspired by their enthusiasm every single time… and then we settle into a routine.

Before long the honeymoon phase is over. The students are working two jobs, have a family, and are taking a full load of classes. They aren’t reading consistently before they come to class. I’m trying to raise their energy level but they are realizing how lofty their goals really were from the start.

I’m swamped with grading, committee work is intense and usually a waste of time, but dang it I have a job to do. I want them to love Public Speaking. See, see I have lofty goals too. Haha!

Finding moments to process all we feel

Teaching is much like being on a pilgrimage. In the beginning we are excited to embark on the new adventure, we are instantly inspired by everything around us, have completed the research, and oh yes, we have set our own lofty goals.

Then the routine settles in. We are more experienced than the typical student so we think we are ahead of the game. This is our third pilgrimage, so we are well-versed about what the routine will be – eat, walk, eat, walk, wash clothes, eat, sleep, repeat. But it only takes one tough semester for a student to figure out their routine. Experience can happen quickly out of desperation to stay afloat.

Something happens in the semester that requires a lot more of my energy to build them up, engage them, and remind them how important Public Speaking really is to their future. Good thing I am the queen of passion when it comes to Communication courses. I need that same mustering up of spark when the days on pilgrimage are long and boring.

Just like in a semester, on pilgrimage, I know what happens after the honeymoon phase is over. It’s the same thing that happens to me, my students, and yes, even to my professional clients. Life happens. All of a sudden you realize the five other projects you have put off doing and now they are due, someone gets sick, a bad nights sleep, maybe something stole your creativity, or maybe your schedule feels too monotonous to bear.

We are currently in the part of our pilgrimage where my creativity was stolen and, at the same time, my schedule is feeling quote monotonous. Some days Brian is the creative one. Have you seen his animated video game YouTube video from our walk? If not, click here. Other days, I try to be the creative one. Here’s my attempt at a TV show on the Via Francigena, click here.

We make a great team and together we get through the tough days. In comparison, I wish I could team teach. Creativity multiplies amongst creative people. A team gives one person the space to have a bad day, work through their emotions, while the other person cheers the team along.

Until the day comes when I can team teach, I will learn the lesson before me – a team comes from anyone around you and I when I don’t have my husband with me, I usually have an outstanding group of students eager to be on my team.

Keep moving forward

I look forward to the days ahead, the next phases of our pilgrimage, and I pray for that easy feeling of daily inspiration. I will continue to make notes which will come in handy when inspiration in low in my “regular life.” For now, I will rely on my teammate while on this pilgrimage.

Check out these two days on YouTube!

Then check out our ridiculous attempt at singing our way through the Via Francigena on this YouTube video!

Walking stats from Robbio to Mortara – 15.78 km

  • Lodging – B&B Antica Corte Lombarda – € 77

Walking from Mortora to Tromello – 13.6 km

  • Lodging – Hotel Duca di Tromello – € 75

Train from Tromello to Garlasco – 5.4 km. Walk from Garlasco to Pavia – 18 km

  • Lodging for 2 nights in Pavia – B&B Castellani – €171

*Listing our accommodation is not an endorsement. This is just a point of information for fellow pilgrims. See our reviews on Booking.com, the guidebooks, and fellow pilgrims for more details to make the decision best for you.



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