As a child did you ever “play school” and take on the role of the teacher? Recently, my 3-year-old granddaughter wanted to read me a bedtime story instead of me reading it to her. So I followed her directions when she said “criss cross applesauce,” which meant I was sitting on the floor with my legs crossed and my hands in my lap.
After a few minutes she was able to flip the book over so the pages faced me. Then she proceeded to turn the pages one at a time and showed me the pictures and told me the story as she remembered it. I immediately thought she was imitating what her preschool teacher says and does when reading a book to her class.
When a novice teacher has completed the experience of student teaching, they possess a desire to devote their efforts to becoming a good teacher. For the most part, novice teachers need to develop competence in classroom management, human relations and the pedagogical skill associated with the curriculum taught and effective instruction. Throughout their first few years, these novice teachers spend time and energy focusing and developing these skills as they struggle with failures and become dependent on seasoned excellent teachers that share some of the valuable lessons that they have learned in their tenure.
For Catholic educators, these good and excellent educational skills are not enough to achieve the goals of our Catholic schools. Our diocesan policy manual lists some of our broad goals as:
These are skills that turn the teacher position from a job to a vocation.
The educators in our Catholic schools not only teach the subject of religion and our Catholic faith, but are able to share their personal experiences with their students. When teachers show goodwill toward others in the presence of the students, the students learn what they can offer to their fellow students. Students seeing teachers attending and participating in Mass is a way to convey the importance of practicing their faith. Teachers scheduling events in which the students provide a service to others allows students to become more comfortable in this practice of giving.
Catholic educators stand in their school community not only as professionals who have completed the knowledge, skills and values needed to be a teacher, but they stand in their school community as symbols of the knowledge, skills and values that represent citizens of God’s kingdom.
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