by Sister Carl Shively, OSU, Superintendent
As we step into a new school year, I would like to introduce the profile of a Catholic school teacher/minister. Many times we forget that these ministers are walking a journey with our students, gently leading students towards goals and expectations and showing them the movements of the Holy Spirit in their lives. It is the goal of each teacher to serve as a “John the Baptist” each day in pointing out the Lord.
A Catholic school teacher is a man or woman of faith. This gift of faith, though unseen, motivates the teacher to take our students into a world where peace and justice reign. The teacher must “walk the talk.” Every day the student is grading the teacher and evaluating to see if the actions match the words. For us who are teachers, our students can serve as a mirror for our daily examination of conscience.
A Catholic school teacher is a man or woman of integrity. Integrity is a purity of mind and heart that knows no deception, no excuses, no rationalization, nor any coloring of the facts. It is an absolute honesty with one’s self, with God and with our fellow man. Even if God blinked or looked the other way for a moment, it would be choosing the right—not merely because God desires it, but because our character demands it.
A Catholic School teacher is a man or woman of forgiveness. Forgiveness is about releasing ones apprehension, trepidation and consternation. This may be done by letting loose the past so it no longer has control over the individual, their views or sentiments. One way of releasing this tension is to gain reconciliation through forgiveness, especially with students; it is essential that the teacher be aware there is a need to engage the student, particularly if there is likelihood that the student may find it difficult to render forgiveness. The teacher will also discover that reconciliation happens naturally once they have set themselves free through forgiveness.
A Catholic school teacher is a man or woman of laughter. In the words of Carolyn Birmingham, “A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.” To our students, yesterday is just a memory, today is the adventure. The Catholic school teacher believes in the present and that the adventure is in the future where God shapes and molds young lives into being for others.
A Catholic school teacher is a man or woman who is commissioned to go into the workplace and reveal God’s saving spirit through the quality of their lives. May our teachers labor for justice, lobby for peace and be content with the wage of commitment.