This past week I have been posting reasons why I choose to teach in a Catholic school. The reasons are numerous. I find that I find comfort knowing that I am teaching in an environment where I am surrounded by people who share a common passion…and that is Catholic education. The next question is “What makes an education Catholic?”
Catholic education is more than having a religion class everyday and learning about the Sacraments or ways of Christian living. Catholic education is living out the Sacraments and how to be Christian. Catholic education is being able to recognize a student that is struggling with a difficult situation and approaching that student and saying a quick prayer with him/her. Catholic education is being able to find those teachable moments and guiding a student to learn to trust the Holy Spirit will guide them to become an even stronger student.
Every Tuesday the school I work at attends Mass as a school. Gathering to share at the Lord’s table puts what we do as Catholic educators in a whole new perspective. Am I there to teach or am I there to lead students to draw closer in their relationship with God? I feel I am there to lead students to draw closer in their relationship with God. I enjoy and truly look forward to attending Mass as a school. I need to be reminded of how my students are forming their conscience and growing in their faith. This reminder makes me realize that I am still learning and growing in my faith.
My students wrote last week why they choose to attend a Catholic school and why they find it important in their lives. The responses I received made me feel even more commitment to teaching in a Catholic school. Students responded multiple times that growing in their faith is important. They also feel that attending Mass is important. That being with friends and learning something new everyday is why they choose Catholic schools. I am just honored to be a part of their learning process.
The growth of my students is an aspect of their learning that I find joy in experiencing. Yes, I am there to teach them social studies, spelling, handwriting, reading, and religion. More importantly, I am there to teach them how to be positive members of our community. I am there to teach them that decisions need to be made with faith and morality as their guide. My faith needs to be a role model. My responsibility is to the community, the parish, the parents, and most importantly the students. If I can’t provide my students with the best religious education experience possible, I need to find ways to do that. I need to lead them to a stronger relationship with Christ.
Placing Christ as the center of my teaching is essential. It’s not just important because I teach at a Catholic school, but it’s also important because my students deserve it. Students deserve an environment where they can grow and learn in the faith. They want this environment. They want opportunities to ask questions about Catholicism.
I am in a blessed learning community. We are fortunate enough to have priests that come and teach our students about their faith. Students appreciate the time the priests spend with them. Having priests in the classroom allows students to grow and see their faith differently.
Now that I have provided these reasons, plus the reasons in my other blog, here is the real reason why I choose Catholic education. Catholic education is my vocation. I feel that I have been called to be a teacher in a Catholic school. I feel that I need to be in a classroom to share my faith and to learn with my students. I want to be in the classroom and grow in faith. Teachers need to share the why they are teaching with students and I do share with them my reasons. Students need to see my commitment to the faith and to the students. Students need to see that I don’t just say what they should do, but I participate and show what they need to do.
Catholic educators need to provide opportunities for students to grow their faith. Walk along the path with them as they journey through new ways to grow their faith. Being a Catholic school teacher is a privilege. Teachers need to treat it as such. Where else can we participate in the education of children and help them become positive leaders in our faith all while growing in our own faith at the same time? I truly feel honored and blessed to be a Catholic school teacher. This is why I choose Catholic education!