Friday, February 1, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday: Why I Love Teaching at a Catholic School

In honor of Catholic Schools Week, today I'm sharing the many blessings that come with teaching at a Catholic school!

--- 1 ---
The staff meets for prayer before the school day. Students start the day in prayer.  I start every class with prayer (in Spanish).  The school day ends in prayer.  Do I need to explain why this is awesome?

--- 2 ---

Integrating faith & content
 Spain and Latin America have such rich Catholic history and culture.  In fact, I learned so much about the Church and Saints in my many Latin American history classes in college (and I didn't go to a Catholic college).  We had to learn and speak about them objectively, but I don't have to teach that way, I can openly share the beauty of the faith and my pride in my Catholic heritage while teaching these things.  Amazing!

--- 3 ---

A family environment
Although this certainly isn't the case with all Catholic schools, the one I work at is a preK-8 school which gives it an incredible "family" feel.  There are some families that have kids in preK, elementary, and middle school.  The children get to interact with various age groups.  Each class is paired with another class, so younger students have role models and older students have the chance to step up and be leaders to the younger ones.  And step up they do! Seeing the 8th graders take preschoolers to Mass is incredible.  You can see the most chatty 8th graders teaching their preschoolers about the important of being quiet.  They teach them to genuflect.  It's precious.

--- 4 ---

The students are great.  They are polite and well-behaved (for the most part!).  Most students realize what a gift their education is and they show a lot of appreciation for teachers, staff, and the education process.  One of the best things about these students though is that they are INNOCENT!  The middleschoolers don't date.  At the school dance,  no one is left out during slow dances, everyone has a partner and they switch it up each time.  They get to be kids without pressure to grow up. 

--- 5 ---

In nearly every education class I took, I was warned to stay away from the teachers lounge because it would be a hotbed of negativity.  I can't speak for all schools, but this definitely isn't the case at mine!  I love having lunch with the other teachers because they are so encouraging.  Lunch is time to talk about families, bounce around ideas for helping students who struggle, and supporting one another through difficulties.  There is no cattiness amongst the faculty.  What a blessing!

--- 6 ---

Freedom to teach
I am trusted as a professional to develop lesson plans that best fit the needs of my students.  I do have standards that I have to teach, but I don't have to follow a pacing guide.  I can decide when and how I teach the content to my students.  Of course, my teaching is evaluated and I am held to high standards as a teacher, but I have the freedom to teach, I don't have to teach to a test and I don't have to follow strict guidelines.

--- 7 ---

Friday Mass
I get to end every work week at Mass with my students.  The school Mass is amazing.  Students (including preschoolers) are so well-behaved and reverent.  The lectors, choir, and altar servers are all students. It's the only time I get to daily Mass and it's just wonderful. 

Happy Catholic Schools Week!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. Sounds like an amazing school! I love the idea of the middle schoolers helping the little ones out at mass. Seems like that could be translated over to a youth group activity in churches to keep teens engaged. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This sounds like a really great school. My sister and aunts teach/taught in the public schools, and all I ever hear them do is complain about the standards and such! (And then they wonder why I didn't want to go into teaching...) I went to public schools all my life, but am starting to think about sending our children to Catholic school when they're old enough. Having passionate teachers like you may be what decides it for us.

  3. All your reasons are why we love having our children in our Catholic school!! Our Mass is on Thursdays though. J

    Also, I have my son in pre-K, daughters in 1st, 3rd and 6th grade and you’re so right. Even though my son has three older sisters, the boys in my daughter’s middle school class all act like big brothers to my son, and I love it. He really talks about them as though they are his friends and he knows them which tells me that a couple of them really care about him and take time to interact with him regularly. I love that.

  4. I love your reasons! I spent a year after college as a traveling speaker, so I went to many Catholic schools, but it's really neat to hear it from you, since it's a more permanent spot and you can really see the fruits of your particular school. I worked mostly in Philadelphia, so the thing I'd have to add to this list is getting a soft pretzel with mustard for a nickel! Seriously, they did this at EVERY school!

  5. I loved going to Catholic school. Mike and I are having the discussion right now about if that is the path we want to take. He went to public school and liked his experience as well. All of the reasons I liked Catholic school you mentioned, but Mike brought up a good point: many of the people I went to school with fell away from the Church, and are now very caught up in social norms and most are pro-choice. Mike and all of his siblings are connected to the Church and practicing, wonderful Catholics. His point is that it is the family that has the ultimate say in how their kids turn out. And, you know, he is so right about that. It isn't a teacher or a school's job to do that. But, it sure is nice when you can teach and learn in an environment that is tolerant of true, Catholic beliefs. You're very lucky to teach there :)

  6. Great post! I'm sure you're a great teacher and the kids love you! I spent 13-years in Catholic Schools and wouldn't trade it for anything. It played such a huge part in shaping me into the person I am today -- and for the record, I'm still an active practicing Catholic! From being able to go to Mass and do the readings with my classmates every week to our senior year retreat with Mass said on a beach, every moment spent in Catholic Schools was priceless to me!

  7. I went to Catholic schools beginning in the second grade and thru high school. Can't say I always had a partner at my middle school dances ;-) but I did love it, overall. I guess I took it for granted many times. My hubby has many negative accounts of his time in public school (though I realize that this is not everybody's experience). In high school, we would get students from other schools in the area who were *shocked* by the overall civility of the students at JPII CHS. Guys would hold doors for the girls, people weren't all friends- but fist fights? Why? It was a good experience.

  8. Glad you had such a great Catholic school experience! I only went to Catholic school K-3 but I can say without a doubt that is why I am Catholic now. My mom isn't particularly devout (and my dad isn't Catholic) but the Catholic faith was instilled in me at a young age in school and my desire to learn more in high school brought me back to that same faith!

  9. Mass on the beach? Amazing! Love hearing how Catholic school shaped you!

  10. Jenna, definitely there are some amazing devout Catholics that come out of public school (my husband and his brother are examples) but not have to leave your faith at the door when you go to school (or in my case, work) sure is lovely!

  11. That's so interesting - the new principal at our school (a religious Sister) is formerly from Philadelphia. I wonder if you happened upon her school (it is closed now).

  12. There certainly are some passionate teachers in public schools, and I have heard of some not-so-great Catholic schools, but for the most part, Catholic school teachers love what they do (they get paid less than public school teachers, so they are they because they want to be a love the environment!)

  13. Stacy, that truly is one of the joys. Some of the middle school boys are so sweet and loving to the little ones, it truly bring out the best in them. I love that they are encouraged to spend time with younger children and enjoy their company - I think it's helping to change these young men into a generation of loving, present fathers!


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