Co-collaborators with Jesus the teacher

At a certain point on my daily commute I end up behind a Metro bus. I need to make a turn just past the stop and so I tend to just sit behind the bus while it is unloading and loading passengers. For the past ten days or so the ad on the back of the bus is the Archdiocesan ad celebrating Catholic Schools Week. It got me reminiscing about my days in Catholic school (12 years to be exact) and my most favorite and least favorite teachers.

It is a vocation

In the least favorite category is my second grade teacher-who even to an eight-year old- seemed to be a very unhappy person. One day, I shared with my mother that  “I hate her!”  Well, my mother had a few things to say about that: Firstly, hate is not something that “we” do.  If we love Jesus, we do not hate people. Secondly, she asked me to consider what a day in the life of my teacher looks like. She arrives at school early after having prepared lots of different activities to help us to learn. She has 25 some students who all learn in different ways and she has to try to have lessons that incorporate all of these differences, She spends the whole day in a classroom with all of us whether she is feeling great or feeling sick, whether she has lots of energy or is tired. Then at the end of  the day she goes home to take care of her own family and do more work to get ready for the next day. I’m sure my Mom had more to say, but you get the idea. The fact that I am writing about this some forty-years later makes it obvious that I got what my Mom was saying. Teaching is hard work and first and foremost, teachers are to be respected.  For something that seems so obvious, I wonder why as a society we so undervalue the teaching profession. That’s fodder for a thousand blogs, but this one is a request to identify and celebrate the great women and men who are teaching in our schools this year.

The Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the Golden Apple Awards which will be presented to 10 of our best teachers on May 13. This award exists in only five dioceses(Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Harrisburg, Toledo) and has it s origins in the gratitude that the Pittsburgh-based Donahue Family had for the teachers that educated their 13 children!

Someone you know

A teacher can be nominated by their colleagues, parents, and students. A committee at each school will review the nominations for that school and select an individual to represent the school in the archdiocese-wide competition. Nomination forms can be picked up at school or found here.

If you are a parent of a Catholic school student, pick the best teacher and complete a nomination. If you teach in one of our schools, why not nominate the teacher who has served as a mentor, if you are a student, why not start a campaign for your favorite teacher.

Called to be a co-collaborator with Jesus the Teacher

If you are someone wondering about teaching and teaching in Catholic school,  take some time to pray and discern if this might be the vocation to which the Lord is calling you. Happily, for some people, spending the whole day in a classroom full of kids is pure joy and it shows!

3 Replies to “Co-collaborators with Jesus the teacher”

  1. Dear Monsignor,

    “In the least favorite category is my second grade teacher-who even to an eight-year old- seemed to be a very unhappy person. One day, I shared with my mother that “I hated her!””

    Was this teacher responsible for your English studies? Perhaps you should have heeded her lessons?

    “This award exists in only five dioceses(Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Harrisburg, Toledo).”

    You mentioned only four dioceses in this list.

    Hope it puts a smile on your face. A blessed Lent to you. It made me smile for sure, so I had to comment and I hope you do take it as it is meant, with a smile. Actually, you write quite well and for the vast majority of what you post, when I have the time to read it, I can’t fault you.

    I still keep in touch with my favorite teacher. She taught me in both the fourth and seventh grades. Sr. Martin Marie. She is now known by her birth name of Sr. Mary Jo Lyons. She was an inspirational teacher and very patient. Strangely she is on the liberal side, which she has noticed as did our oldest daughter. I took her to meet Sr. Mary Jo after my mother died because I wanted my daughter to meet the lady who played the second most significant part in my life growing up. My daughter, on our drive home commented that she found it interesting that I was inspired by a woman who was more liberal than I was. I told her that no one was perfect. Also I mentioned that liberal and conservative were later developments in my understanding.

    I have never really had an instructor/teacher that I did not get along with, although I have liked some better than others. The nuns, however, in elementary school were a great l blessing to me……and they still are!

  2. Karl, while I am happy to let Msgr. Pope take the heat, This is my post(Susan Timoney) and yes, it put a a smile on my face. The fifth diocese is the Archdiocese of Washington! I could also write a blog on some of my favorites–Sr. Majorie, Sr. Rose David… correction to come!

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