I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Friday, May 9, 2014

Love First, Teach Next

In attending "The Sound of Music" last night (which was incredible, by the way), I couldn't help but watch the play through my "teacher lens..."

I really liked looking at it that way - seeing the relationships develop between Frauline Maria and each of the children, much like relationships develop between a teacher and her/his students. It reminded me that it appears children respond to scolding and strict rules, but that's done more out of fear of getting in trouble. Instead, what they really respond to is love and to those who take an interest in them.

Seems like a simple realization, doesn't it? But how often as teachers do we forget this, getting wrapped up instead in annoying behavior and frustration because we can't get things done? Are the kids going to remember the extra 3 minutes of grammar a teacher tries to squeeze in while raising his/her voice to get the kids to settle down, or will they remember that their teacher always let them out late to lunch? Will the students remember all the big events that happened in our Church history, or will they remember that we spent each day with student-led prayer (even when it took longer than 5 minutes of class time)?

Now, at the end of the school year, is as good a time as any to review our teaching practice. (And trust me, I need to do it just as much as the next person!) And now is just as good a time as any to return to why we're teachers in the first place - For me, it's because I love working with children. They give me energy and push me with questions that require me to be stronger in my faith and values. They help me laugh and not get too serious about any given day.

Teaching is truly a special job - it is unlike any other one you can have. Sure, we may never thank teachers enough for what they do, but, at the end of each day, there is usually some small reward - a smile or hug from a student, a chance to spend time in conversation with a co-worker, an opportunity to see students involved in sports or extracurricular activities...

Kids respond when they realize their teachers care. They may not always be the best behaved when doing so, but they usually know where the line is if the relationship is there first.

So, as any frustrations or tasks at the end of the year start piling up, I want to remember to be like Maria - love them first, teach them second...

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