“to educate children you must love them and love them all equally.” (St. Marcellin Champagnat)
If we can’t love those who challenge us then I do not believe we love at all. Naturally we can’t begin to understand how we are called to love until we reconcile ourselves to loving God above all, as we are instructed; then we can see others in the light of God’s love for us.
I fondly remember those students in the past who most challenged me, both due to their behavior and down right resistance to any instruction, these students stand out today as my best teachers.
In the thick of those moments and encountering numerous challenges it took every grace from the good Lord to remain loving and dedicated. At the same time, the opportunity arose to examine and renew myself in the reasons I had entered education to begin with.
Having taught in the public school sector one would assume perhaps that faith would have little significance in the classroom setting, but this was surely not the case, as I was able to recognize quickly the essential role of a catholic educator void of location, was a witness of love and the need to pray lovingly for these students.
I was always scared of becoming one of “those” teachers. I was worried that I would become one that had their heart hardened by multiple dealings with difficult students. It became evident that what these children needed most is not found in any curriculum document or board expectation, to truly see in each child a soul that needed healing, and a heart that has not had the chance to know unconditional love at times. By prudently answering their need to feel wanted, appreciated and loved is truly the avenue to help them receive anything necessary that they must learn.
As a new school year begins, and I remain home with my small children opposed to setting up my classroom, my prayers are especially with my peers in this time. That they can make some essential room for personal prayer within their lesson plans to help them love more fully those that they serve and the many children they will instruct.
Love sets apart those who teach by profession alone and those who exemplify teaching as a vocation and vital responsibility. To teach well is to love well and to love well is to open ourselves up toward profound learning.
Let us pray today for teachers and the many students who will cross paths with them throughout this new school year. May they strive to be a sign of God’s love and shine forth the faith in an inviting way. May we also pray for parents to always recognize their role as primary educators of their children, and for those who live this out in a homeschool setting. (CC)
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