I’ve had the pleasure of being a certified teacher for twenty years now. I started my teaching career in a public school, and have spent the last five years teaching middle school students at a Catholic school outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Most teachers will agree that the greatest reward of teaching comes from watching students grow academically and socially. In a Catholic school we have an added bonus and responsibility, which is to help guide students as they form their spiritual life.
Our youth face the difficult task of navigating a social and public landscape that is often in opposition to the teachings of the Church. Being a catechist has become increasingly difficult with each passing year. Our children are bombarded with messages online, on television, and with their peers. Too often, these messages run counter to the Gospel. This is why it is more important than ever to teach the truth and to give young people the tools they will need to defend the faith. The best way to do this is to live the truth and teachings of the Church in our own lives.
The love we have for Our Lord should pour out of our hearts and be visible for all to see through not only our actions but our words. The old adage, “Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk” comes to mind when I think about being an example for young people. Children need to see us at Mass and receiving the sacraments. Just recently, my students attended a retreat at which the Sacrament of Reconciliation was offered by several priests. There was a lull in the participation where children were looking to see who would go up next. I decided it would be a good idea to hop up and head into the confessional to demonstrate that I am a sinner in need of the Sacrament of Reconciliation just as much as they are. The kids looked a bit surprised, but I noticed when I got back to my pew to pray some of my reluctant students went up to receive Confession.
Here are the three things I love most about being a Catholic School Teacher: