One of the greatest parts of moving from little lovelies to middle lovelies is that I get to be their Alpha and Omega. At least for a couple more years, each class that comes to me in 6th grade will be the same ones I started with in 1st grade. It’s so much fun to see how they grow and change from one end of the building to the other. The best part of all is to see how they have grown in their faith. Since its Catholic Schools Week I thought I’d just reflect on my awesome job a wee bit.
This verse from Matthew is the first scripture verse the first graders learn when they come to St. Mary’s school. They learn a new one each week but this is the one that reminds me that I am so lucky to be a Catholic School teacher. I get to point them to Jesus because He whispers “come to me!” The kids learn they are Jesus’ favorite and He hears their prayers first! They find that powerful knowledge and then we spend the rest of the years learning how to pray and live taking full advantage of that knowledge. I get to point out that the most important thing I can help them learn is how to get to heaven!
Throughout the years they will learn how to read; how to count and add…blessings as well as numbers. We learn to write the words that tell our stories and prayers that share our needs. We get to learn that some things in this world are completely amazing… like how frogs use their big eyes to swallow their food and how chicks have just enough room, food and air inside an egg to last exactly the 21 days it will take them to hatch. We learn that stuff like that can only be explained by the statement… “Only GOD could think of that!” We realize every single day that we don’t do the same things the same way as everyone else and that’s something to celebrate because that’s the way God planned it.
We learn that being part of a community is far more important than being independent. We learn that when we join together in prayer we have awesome power through Jesus. We learn that when we pray for others we become less selfish and when we see God working through our prayers we learn what it means to be humbly thankful. At St. Mary School we pray for all kinds of things; lost dogs, sick guinea pigs, sad hearts, bodies that are sick and hurt and friends and family on their way to join Jesus and the Communion of Saints. Through prayer we connect to people we’ve never met but they have let us know they are struggling and need our prayers. We don’t know their faces but we know they need our prayers so we join them in their most intimate place…their hearts, through our simple prayers for them each day. We feel the power of community as we join together each week for Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. We don’t understand all the mysteries of our faith but we look forward to knowing and understanding more.
One of the greatest parts of teaching in a Catholic School is watching the kids learn to call upon the Holy Spirit as they work hard to overcome the nerves from public speaking or test taking or being in a play for the first time. In first grade none of the middle lovelies were in the CSW talent show but this year every one of them had a role to play. They boys came dressed in tutus and neckties taking the stage with yoga balls, blenders, homemade robots and light sabers. They risked looking silly just to make the younger students laugh and show them what courage looks like. The girls took the stage to sing, act, dance like huge pillows and show off giant red lips and amazing facial expressions. They showed all the little girls what it looks like to use the gifts God gave you and find a way to make people smile even if you look a little silly doing it. I was so very, very proud of how much they’ve grown and how much they love life, and enjoy their role as the “big kids” in the building.
The middle lovelies are too old for show-and-tell but every day is like Catholic show-and tell for me. Every day I’m lucky enough to walk through the front door of St. Mary Catholic School I get to do show-and-tell for my Creator. I get to weave His amazing love and wonder into each and every thing I do! I get to see 260 lovelies through His eyes and teach them how to see each other the same way. I get to discipline by quoting loving words from scripture and bless children with Holy Water and prayers on difficult days. I get to demonstrate how virtues in action are more powerful than any words ever spoken. I get to show and tell about Christ’s mercy, forgiveness and grace. I get to see them progress from “Are we ‘gonna pray again?” in first grade to “We should put that on our prayer jar.” or “I wanna go to Adoration and maybe hear God’s voice like a whisper in my ear!” How lucky I am that God trusted me with this job and how lucky I am that He lets me come back day after day to try and get it right!
How lucky I am to work with the AMAZING staff at our school. How lucky I am to be led by a principal who is strong and faithful. How lucky I am to have a wonderful pastor who leads and loves our school. How lucky I am to teach in a community that is grateful and supportive. At this point in my writing I can hardly stop the tears of humble joy rolling down my cheeks…that’s how lucky I feel to be a part of Catholic education! That’s why I KNOW I am the luckiest woman drawing breath! Thank you God!
A Seed To Plant: What are you grateful for? Go ahead and make a list and if you can, thank a former teacher who touched your life.
Blessings on your day!