Today is Tim's last full day of teaching. Teaching religion in a Catholic school has been an interesting experience. His career will be going in a different direction very soon (more on this to come....). We are not sure we fully understand why God brought Tim to teaching or why his teaching career was so short. Perhaps it was only to provide an opportunity to hopefully pass our beautiful faith onto others, or maybe it was to teach us a few things ourselves. Here is a little of what we learned from Tim's one year as a classroom teacher....
1. Teaching is truly a calling and those who have dedicated their lives to it deserve our utmost respect and support. Going into the classroom every day and trying to impart wisdom and knowledge to a room full of children from varied backgrounds, with varied learning styles, and varied interests is really hard.
2. Our Catholic schools are not always as Catholic as they should be. Catholic schools may strive to provide an authentically Catholic education but often the teachers and administrators are un-catechized themselves. We, as Catholic parents, need to demand authentically Catholic curriculum, ongoing catechesis for the teachers, and policies that build up and support Catholic teachings on every level. It would be great if our schools could be run by religious sisters again. There was discipline then, there was respect then, there was solid catechesis then, there was an example of lives lived for Christ back then…..
3. The best thing parents can do to make sure their children are truly educated in things of our faith is to practice it at home. Even the very best of Catholic schools can only do so much. It is in the home where children learn to either follow God and respect His Church or do their own thing and maybe show up to Mass a few times a year. Parents are the greatest influence in their children lives, whether they want to be or not! If they want their children to be Catholic, they must be faithfully Catholic themselves.
4. The best thing parents can do, to facilitate a good educational experience for their children in general, is to support their teachers. This means parents should not criticize teachers. They should not contradict teachers. They should not attempt to override teachers’ decisions. If parents were more supportive, teachers would be empowered to provide a better environment for all students. Students would learn, not only their academics, but also respect for authority and the concept of taking responsibility for their actions- lessons that are sorely missing on our schools today.
5. Teachers are WAY underpaid for the time and energy they put into their jobs. We probably knew that, we certainly had heard that, yet we were still surprised by how true it really is.
6. Our family was definitely called to home schooling. We knew this too, of course. But a year in the schools has given Tim a greater appreciation for all I do and for the MANY benefits that home schooling has afforded our children, both academically and socially.
7. And the lesson that might be most important and that I am trying to fully embrace-- God’s plan is always surprising. He answers prayers in the most unexpected of ways, at times. Obedience and trust are never easy, yet God will bless us if we are obedient to Him, trust in Him, and let Him work in our lives.