I’m looking forward to venturing out to a state park with Bill and the girls this weekend and staring at something other than a screen. I hope your weekend has something equally renewing. — Laura

Cliff shared this quote in New Faculty Orientation this week, and it was a great reminder that in the day-to-day of teaching, we still strive to fill the gaps between aspirations and reality with our presence and offer students community in our classrooms. 

There is a line in a Bruce Cockburn song that describes the “wild-eyed dogs of day to day” nipping around our ankles. The image has long stuck with me. It tugs my attention toward the gaps that doggedly persist between Christian statements of educational mission and the daily realities of educational practice. The soaring eagles’ wings of Christian mission statements, philosophical perspectives, worldview declarations, and the like can raise our gaze and remind us that bigger things are at stake when we enter a classroom. 

Yet so much of what we do there is, in the end, decided closer to ankle level, closer to the place where the material pressures and quirks of our teaching contexts harry and herd our movements. Our declarations of faith strike up a stirring tune, but it is often the wild-eyed dogs of day-to-day that determine our dance steps. Amid the snapping and snarling, gaps appear between our aspirations and our practices.

—David Smith, On Christian Teaching (Eerdmans, 2018)