Three years ago, Hannah Cummings was asked to be a religious education teacher. It was an assignment she readily accepted; not only did she have previous educational experience as a professional dance teacher, but it gave her a chance to invest in the children of the same parish where she grew up, St. Jude Church in Jacksonville.
Recently Bryce Cummings, her husband of three years, joined her both in the faith and in the classroom. Together they provide a unique dual perspective on Catholicism to middle schoolers.
“They were having difficulty keeping teachers for the seventh graders,” Hannah said. “It can be a rough age; 14-year-olds can be difficult.”
Despite this, the couple has connected with their students through a variety of factors. One, the couple’s age — both 24 — makes them more relatable and their divergent paths to the Universal Church provides two unique approaches to understanding the faith.
“At first, I was a little nervous because I feel like I’m not as good with children as she is,” Bryce said. “But the more I went, the more I put myself in their shoes and thought about questions I’d ask. Being new to the Church, I had a lot of those same questions.”
The couple said they enjoy teaching students at this age, given their ability to comprehend and think deeply about the role of Christ in their lives.
“They’re getting to the point where they’re starting to get serious about their religion,” Hannah said. “Therefore, they do have more questions and many of those questions are things I never really thought about before. They challenge me quite a bit.”
“Seeing them grow and open up and start to ask questions is a really neat experience,” Bryce said. “Teaching the kids really makes me happy.”
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