Dorian Speed has been a classroom educator and catechist for several years. She has worked in classical Catholic education as well as traditional school settings, and writes about culture and faith at Scrutinies.
This video about Lenten fasting from Redeemed Online would be a great introduction to talking about the disciplines of Lent as a communal experience, rather than 40 Days of Self-Improvement:
“One billion people in the world, fasting from the same thing, lifting up our prayers to God…”
Challenging young people to take Lent seriously can too easily come across as just another self-help program; sure, you slacked on your New Year’s resolution, but now you get a reboot with awesome ashes on your forehead!
It strikes me that Lent is perhaps our strongest remaining experience of a Catholic culture. Christmas is celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike, and Advent reads to the larger culture as generic “getting ready for Christmas” along the lines of setting up the tree and planning for the big meal. But Lent is a communal occasion of penance and sacrifice, culminating in the highest of our holy days.
Yes, it is a chance to supercharge one’s faith, I suppose, but that’s not really how we are supposed to see this season. We are sinners, we need Christ’s saving presence, and we take on these disciplines to remind ourselves of the need for His mercy. The fish fry dinners and the community Stations of the Cross help create this culture apart from the world. If we can’t go on pilgrimage, we can embark upon this smaller journey together. Invite your students to focus on Lent as members of the Body of Christ, explaining how our individual acts of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are not about attaining our own perfection but rather offerings in union with Christ’s sacrifice.
Mike Aquilina’s Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols is a quick read that provides a comprehensive foundation for further investigation into Christian symbolism. I was given a review copy of the book before a family trip that included many museums full of medieval art, and I found it to be a helpful overview for me and my older children.
Aquilina excels at writing about the early Christians in a way that makes them seem like long-lost relatives. This book is informative without being too academic in tone for a popular audience. As he says in the introduction, “This is not a work of scholarship, but an act of devotion – an act of piety towards our ancestors, so that we might learn to see the world once again with their eyes, and to pray and live as they once prayed and lived.” I enjoyed the mixture of testimony from Church Fathers, detailed illustrations showing replicas of actual Christian art, and citations from other contemporary sources.
Each chapter is a short overview of a symbol, exploring its roots in Jewish or pagan culture and showing how it was given new meaning by the early Christians. It’s a great way to learn more about the diverse groups of early Christians, including the Copts in Egypt and the earliest Jewish converts. I learned about several symbols I wasn’t aware had Christian meaning, like dolphins and peacocks, and Aquilina includes intriguing details like the hidden meaning of the “Sator Arepo” square.
Books like this one are a great way to start breaking open the central ideas of our faith. Christian symbols can be the “hooks” that draw us into a deeper understanding of a particular teaching, or allow us to see new spiritual insights in familiar images. I think this would be a great component of a course on either art history or the Creed – it’s short enough to be read in one sitting but organized in a way that makes it easy to refer to a specific chapter if you happen upon a symbol in a church window or a painting that is unfamiliar. I’d recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about the early Church. My middle schooler found it pretty easy to understand, so I would say it’s appropriate for young adolescents on up, although that’s not to say it wouldn’t be perfect for adults as well.
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I knew I’d enjoy Colleen Swaim’s Ablaze: Stories of Daring Teen Saints just by the cover. (Yes, there’s a saying about that.) It’s contemporary and engaging without screaming “STORIEZ 4 TEENZ.” Just like Coleen’s writing.
I enjoyed learning more about familiar saints while also being introduced to several saints I hadn’t heard of before, particularly those canonized in the past couple of decades. Swaim has included saints whose lives can be tied to familiar themes for young people today – family conflict, physical violence, sexual immorality. Her writing is subtle in showing the grace at work in each saint’s life without becoming preachy.
The saints included in this first volume are:
- Saint Dominic Savio
- Saint Teresa of the Andes
- Saint Kizito
- Blessed Chiara Luce Badano
- Saint Stanislaus Kostka
- Saint Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception
- Blessed Pedro Calungsod
- Saint Maria Goretti
Each biography is bookended with a Scripture passage, memory verse, “Saintly Challenges,” and space for journal writing. I liked the use of photographs and the focus on saints from around the world. The suggestions in the “Saintly Challenges” are pretty clever, such as when Swaim suggests that you could “strive to really listen to the other person in a conversation, striving not to cut him off or monopolize the discussion,” in imitation of St. Dominic Savio.
I originally purchased this as a resource for my 10-year-old, but the “mature content” of some of the stories means that I will be waiting a couple of years to share the book with him, although I may read some of the stories aloud to him. Some of the saints either died very violent deaths or encountered graphic sexual violence, and these aspects of their lives are handled with candor without being overly sensational. St. Maria Goretti’s story, with which many readers may also be familiar, is told frankly enough that for a younger child unfamiliar with the concept of rape it would require an explanation. The book is geared towards teenagers, though, so it’s not that I don’t think these subjects should have been included; just something for parents to consider when evaluating the age-appropriateness of the material.
I would recommend this book as a Confirmation gift or as supplemental reading for seventh graders and up, based on the content, although I myself found things to contemplate as a much-older-than-teenaged reader. It’s poignant to read about these lives that ended so soon and how strongly these young people adhered to their faith, often without the support of their families. It’s also an excellent window on global Catholicism to learn about the lives of saints from India, Uganda, and the Philippines. I’m excited to see that Coleen has a new book out and I’m looking forward to adding that to our library, as well.
For an excellent interview with Colleen Swaim, check out Nancy Piccione’s Q&A, where Colleen addresses the scope of the book:
My goal throughout the process was to seek out saints of both genders who are representative of the worldwide vitality of Catholic youth lived to incredible heights. With some saints and blesseds, that meant scouring Vatican resources for newly recognized individuals, while others fell into my lap through the recommendation of a friend of a friend. I tried to include both classics and those who I felt Americans need an introduction to, and I believe the book succeeded on those fronts.
I agree! Very nice to see this slim-but-substantive collection of biographies that speaks to the challenges that modern teenagers face.
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I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.
Sometimes, as educators, we have to do things that make us uncomfortable. Set aside our nervousness, our need for control, our desire for a safe and predictable outcome.
In other words, we have to substitute teach.
I remember when I was in Teacher Grad School, and our professor was giving us all sorts of helpful tips for managing behavior, planning engaging lessons, etc. I raised my hand and asked, “Do you have any specific for suggestions for being a substitute teacher?”
She looked me straight in the eye: “Never sub.”
I have a friend who is a permanent substitute teacher for a small school district, and she’s terrific at it. She has an easy rapport with the students, she gets them to do their work, and she has fun with it all. She enjoys the unpredictability of getting to visit a new classroom every day and she thrives on the challenge.
I couldn’t do it. I get so nervous when I’m subbing, EVEN if the students are MY OWN STUDENTS. At one school, we all covered one another’s classes during our planning periods when needed, because there was no budget for substitute teachers. So occasionally I’d be monitoring a room full of students I’d just seen for 55 minutes in my own classroom. I *still* felt apprehensive. I just like to have a plan, going in.
(I also have to say that it was far more often the reverse – my fellow teachers having to cover my classes – because I was both pregnant and migraine-attacky all year long. I still owe them my appreciation and probably a batch of cookies.)
It’s probably my perfectionism that makes it so stressful for me, and I’ve certainly gotten more laid-back about it. (Here I do not mean “perfectionism” as code for “it’s because I’m so awesome.” It means “I labor over minute details that are irrelevant to the big picture.”) I’ve also learned a few things along the way:
1. Try to learn the kids’ names. You won’t get it right. They know that. Show some effort. I like to repeat the students’ names one after the other, then keep starting at the beginning. “Carlos. Carlos, Amanda. Carlos, Amanda, Mikayla. Lawrence.” Even though you’re just going to be there for one day or one hour, making the effort gets things off to the right start. Use humor. If you don’t know a student’s name, make up a ridiculous name from the planet Randomia. Look the child in the eyes as you attempt to remember his/her name. It helps.
2. Break the ice. Amanda Brunet at Suite101 provides some clever ideas for getting to know your students as a substitute teacher. I particularly liked this one:
At the beginning of class, the substitute teacher can ask each student to write down something unique about himself on a small piece of paper. Subs can provide their own personal examples such as: “I like to eat pickles and peanut butter” or “I have sky dived three times”.
Teachers then collect the pieces of paper and place them in a hat. Throughout the class time, the sub can pull out each piece of paper and read it out loud. Students should guess which unique quirk belongs to each classmate.
The suggestion to space this activity out over the course of a class period is great, as it helps you dangle a carrot in front of the class periodically to remind them “okay, let’s stay on task for another ten minutes and then we’ll try to guess some more of the quirks!” You would, of course, want to make sure you read through all of them in advance yourself…especially if you’re teaching middle schoolers.
3. Follow the lesson plan. Sometimes, you’re subbing because the teacher suddenly collapsed in the break room with chills and fever, and the lesson plan is “I don’t know, because she was going to write the lesson plan for today during her lunch break but then she started to feel nauseated.” Fair enough – we’ll come back to that. But often, there’s at least some semblance of a lesson plan. Follow it, and don’t make comments about the caliber of what they’ve been assigned.
4. Be ready for the unexpected. Perhaps there is no lesson plan.
Bring a book to read aloud to the students – something with lots of voices and action, that will hold their attention.
Take a set of logic problems – most kids enjoy these (along the lines of “There is a room with no doors, no windows, nothing and a man is hung from the ceiling and a puddle of water is on the floor. How did he die?”) and they can easily be turned into a class discussion activity with students raising their hands to make guesses.
Have some kind of prizes/rewards handy. I have lamed out on this the last few times I’ve subbed, and resorted to giving quarters to the winning team in Jeopardy. It was ridiculous, and yet – they were motivated. (Stickers are a perfectly adequate reward.) (I also promise them “thirty thousand imaginary dollars” in instances where I am truly unprepared to give any semblance of a reward.)
5. If it’s not working, change the plan. Last week, I tried to do a game of Make Your Own Bingo as a review with a class of second-graders. They were very excited about it, but I realized that I hadn’t allowed enough time. They were still painstakingly writing words from the chalkboard on their papers when I decided to scrap that plan. They…were displeased.
So I stood them all up and announced we were going to play a game called “This Way, That Way.” An awesome, incredible game that I…would make up on the spot. Awesome.
“I’m going to give you a clue and two possible answers. You stand on the side of the room you think is the right answer. Ready?” (It helped that this classroom had a large open space up front with a rug.)
“This word means the special super-food for your soul that you receive through the Sacraments. If you think the answer is ‘grace,’ go stand over here. If you think it’s ‘Psalms,’ go stand over here.” Patter of little feet, keep it moving, keep it moving. We went through 20 vocabulary words in five minutes. Was it the most in-depth, profound review experience of their young lives? No. Did thy pay attention? Did we salvage those last 10 minutes of class? Yes.
So – how about you? Do you like subbing? Fear subbing? Got any good tips?
It doesn’t take a veteran teacher to recognize that each child – and adult – is unique. And what works with one person won’t necessary work with another; we each have our own talents, and we each find joy in different ways. Being able to tap into these differing abilities can really transform your approach to religious education– whether in a classroom setting, a presentation to a group of adults, or even a homeschooling setup.
My favorite way to think about this is based on Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences. Back in MY day, he’d only identified seven. Now he’s up to eight, but the overall point remains the same: individuals display intelligence in different areas, which can be roughly categorized as follows:
- Linguistic: learning through reading and writing
- Logical-mathematical: Reasoning, patterns, and numbers
- Spatial: Visualizing with the mind’s eye
- Musical: sensitive to sounds, rhythm, tone, and music
- Bodily-kinesthetic: Learning best by “doing” and physical activity
- Interpersonal: Learn best by working with others; enjoy cooperative learning; comfortable with leadership
- Intrapersonal: Deep understanding of the self; strengths and weaknesses
Since my time in the trenches (a.k.a., grad school), he’s added:
- Naturalistic: Relate to the natural world and observe their surroundings
- Existential/spiritual: Contemplate the deeper meaning of experiences and life
- Moral: Ability to apply reasoning to moral decision-making, particularly in terms of the sanctity of life
In catechesis, we’re about the business of expanding folks’ existential/moral intelligence, or at least tapping into that, right? So I’m going to focus on how the other eight can be useful in coming up with different lessons, etc. that can grab students’ attention in new ways.
I’m going to start with Musical, because that’s my favorite. Well, not really, but it would be boring to start with Linguistic or Logical-Mathematical, wouldn’t it? Because that’s what we usually think of when we think of “teaching.” Talk at students, they write things down, they take a multiple-choice test with maybe an essay tacked onto the end, and presto: teaching. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
But before you say “I can’t carry a tune to save my life*,” I ask you: Can you say the Our Father?
You can, can’t you?
Let’s say it together;
Father, Who Art
In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy
NameThyKINGDOMCome…what? Isn’t that how you say it? No?
Right – we all say it in the same cadences, don’t we? Our liturgy is full of cadences; we chant the Psalms in rhythm, we teach our children their prayers to a certain meter, we’re all about music even if we are afflicted with tin ears.
I find that most kids, especially adolescent boys, respond very well to activities that incorporate music. Take advantage of this by including activities like:
- Listening to hymns and talking about what the words mean
- Memorizing a prayer by breaking it down into phrases
- Learning to chant parts of the Mass
- Write a song – or change the words to a popular song – to teach someone about a basic concept you’ve learned in class.
- Listen to different settings of parts of the Mass and think about how the music reflects the meaning of the words – this is an activity I really enjoy doing with students, because there are so many beautiful orchestral settings of the Mass.
I don’t believe because there are eight intelligences we have to teach things eight ways. I think that’s silly. But we always ought to be asking ourselves, “Are we reaching every child, and, if not, are there other ways in which we can do it?”
And so I’m not saying “out with books, in with Rap!” But supplementing what you discuss in class with an activity that allows musically-inclined…or musically-enthusiastic – students to shine is a great way to get them engaged in what you’re teaching.
If you’d like to learn more about the theory – pros and cons – check out:
- Gardner, Howard. Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice.
- Nuzzi, Rev. Ronald. Gifts of the Spirit: Multiple Intelligences in Religious Education, 2nd Edition. First edition is available as a PDF download: https://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED439073.pdf.
- — A Multiple Intelligence Approach. https://www.smp.org/resourcepage.cfm?article=108
- Jared Dees – The Religion Teacher. Video tutorial: “Determine the Lesson Assessment.”
- Willingham, Daniel. Multiple Intelligences: The Making of a Modern Myth – Willingham is critical of Multiple Intelligence Theory and the research behind it. I don’t think his criticism is entirely without merit, but in practice I’ve found that thinking about teaching in terms of multiple intelligences really enhances my classroom and reaches a wider selection of kids. Your mileage may vary.
*Essay: Can you describe a situation in which your life would literally depend upon your ability to carry a tune? What would you do in said situation?
Brandon Vogt’s got everybody talking about how new media can serve as a tool for evangelization, catechesis, and inspiration. His book, The Church and the New Media, is a conversation featuring the voices of various online personalities who bring diverse perspectives to the discussion of how the rapid changes in media and technology provide a golden opportunity for the Church.
The authors who have contributed to the book discuss the impact of new media on the individual, the parish, the diocesan, and even a global level, with a wealth of practical recommendations and suggestions for online resources included in each chapter.
The book starts with a discussion of Catholic blogging and the various forms it may take. We may associate faith-based blogging with apologetics, but Fr. Dwight Longenecker argues, “I am not convinced that many souls are won by argument…the apologetics on my blog are woven into a much bigger picture of Catholicism. I want the reader to glimpse the power and the glory of the Catholic Church, but I also want them to glimpse the humanity and humor of being Catholic.” Jennifer Fulwiler echoes this idea in the story of her conversion when she writes, “What impacted me the most…was simply getting a glimpse into Catholic life.” These and other stories in the book point to the need for us to remember that the Internet is an open community where anyone may drop by. Honesty, grace, and charity should prevail in online interactions – and you can never know who might be reading without ever leaving a comment.
Later chapters include a very thorough discussion by Matthew Warner on the role of new media in the parish – this chapter alone is worth the price of the book, as it’s perfect preparation for a parish council meeting to discuss the need for a better website. There’s also a fascinating overview of the many innovative ways in which the Archdiocese of Boston has reached out to the greater community through every form of media imaginable – podcasting, radio, Internet, television, Facebook, Twitter…the list goes on.
Vogt concludes with a frank examination of the many challenges that our constantly-connected society faces – greater narcissism, superficial and relativistic conversations, the difficulty of putting down the smartphones and making time for contemplative prayer. His positive suggestions and outlook are complemented by Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who reminds us that “the Church’s major challenge today is not that of educating her members about the real dangers of new technology – these are now self-evident – but rather of choosing to use it for the good, and learning to use it well. My hope and expectation is that this book will give the Church courage and wisdom to embrace New Media as one of the premier gifts of God to evangelists of our day.”
This book would appeal to readers on all points of the technology-using spectrum, from seasoned bloggers looking for new resources to folks who just opened a Facebook account and aren’t sure what to do next. It should be required reading for parish priests who want to engage their parishioners beyond just weekend Mass and to take advantage of truly building up the Church. And because 100% of the royalties from the book will be used to establish school computer labs throughout the Archdiocese of Mombasa, Kenya, you’re making a difference the moment you choose to buy a copy – or three.
You can purchase this book here.
Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.
Everyone loves a good conversion story.
There’s the setup: I once was lost.
The rising action: the Holy Spirit began working in me (or knocked me off my horse).
The climax: But now I’m found.
Then, there are those of us whose conversion stories are more…ongoing. Habitual sins, tepid prayer lives, highs and lows. Nobody is going to be “hooked” by “I used to get really snippy with my husband, and then I prayed for greater patience, so I was more patient, but then I slacked off, and had to start over again, and every time I ask for grace it’s there, but sometimes I make other things a priority, and so it’s just a constant spiritual journey towards a 23% reduction in sarcasm when dealing with the following populations: husband, children, extended family, commenters on online newspaper articles. HEY – pay attention!”
It’s okay. I’ve been there. I am there. Let me tell you what not to do, first off.
Do not dress up your life experiences as something they’re not in hopes of presenting a dramatic conversion narrative.
True, and incriminating story: when in college, I worked as a janitor’s assistant in a factory that made ball bearing retainers. I walked around the factory with a magnetized stick and picked up scrap metal. (My dad got me the job.) It was a summer job and I made better money than I did as a camp counselor.
I used to carry a ball bearing retainer on my keychain and pass it around to my inner-city middle schoolers, telling them all about how my clothes used to smell like motor oil and how I decided to go to college, all because of that job. And they should go to college, too. I thought this would help me “connect.”
I am guessing – just guessing – that they may have seen right through this story of my hardscrabble upbringing, since the truth was that there was no way on earth in which I would have chosen to drop out of college to work at the factory, being the product of a prep school education and a life spent striving to be Teacher’s Pet. Pretty sure I was fooling nobody. I eventually decided that the act was backfiring and I should just be myself.
And so, since my backstory is basically one of persistent, irritating, and embarrassing venial sins, I don’t try to reframe the narrative as something it’s not.
I find that kids can relate to the daily trials that provide us opportunities to grow in our relationship with Christ – I’ve been snapping at my children a lot, and I know it’s getting in the way of my love for them, and so I go to Confession and I have a clean start. My friend calls and asks for my help with something and I’d really rather stay at home and watch my favorite show, but I can offer it up and do the right thing instead of being selfish.
If you believe that God put you in that room for a reason, as a catechist, then you need to trust that He is okay with you just as you are. You don’t need to embellish the details of your relationship with Him in hopes of capturing your students’ attention – be genuine, share what you’re comfortable sharing with them, and give them opportunities to consider what obstacles are blocking their own paths towards a deeper faith.
This also goes – or maybe goes double – for those of us who, for whatever reason, want to keep our conversion stories private. I think sometimes we can feel obligated to tell kids how we got to where we are, but if that story is painful or could cause scandal, there is nothing wrong with holding back.
We have so little time with our students that deploying the personal narrative isn’t something that should take up most of our class time, anyway, right? Besides, even those of us who have had dramatic conversion experiences will still face the mundane realities of “how to live from one minute to the next on a Wednesday afternoon.”
This column originally appeared at Scrutinies.net.
Steve Ray combines biblical archaeology, Catholic apologetics, and wacky humor to teach viewers of his “Footprints of God” video series about the Bible in an engaging, memorable way. David and Solomon: Expanding the Kingdom is the sixth installment of the series, and focuses on showing how the lives of these two kings of Israel prefigured the life and teachings of Christ.
The video primarily focuses on the life of David, from his humble beginnings as a shepherd to his rise to the greatest king of Israel. Ray shows us both the accomplishments and the failings of this larger-than-life figure, helping us to understand how he remained a heroic leader despite his serious misdeeds. Ray takes us on a tour of the actual sites in the Holy Land where significant events occurred, explaining the events that led the people of Israel to demand that God give them a king and how this led to the height of their power before ultimately leading to their exile. He emphasizes God’s covenant with David and how it came to be fulfilled by Jesus.
Ray also leads us through the life of Solomon, again drawing parallels between events in his life and the life of Jesus. He draws upon rabbinic tradition to break open the prophecies and sayings about the kings of Israel and to explain their deeper symbolism.
As with the other videos in the series, the ultimate focus is on how the stories of the Old Testament prefigure and help us better understand Jesus. This interpretation is in keeping with centuries of Catholic biblical exegesis and draws the viewer in as the Bible is “decoded.”
Ray’s enthusiasm is what keeps us engaged in his detailed explanations of Biblical archaelogy and history, and he uses puns and vivid metaphors to help us remember key points. As a result, his video is both educational for those already familiar with the Scriptural passages he discusses, and easily understood by those who know little about David and Solomon. I’ve used this and other videos in a classroom setting with high school students and found them to be an effective, memorable tool for introducing kids to sacred Scripture.
You can purchase this DVD here
I wrote this review of David and Solomon Expanding the Kingdom for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and Oplatki Christmas Wafers.
Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.
I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.
Teaching can be a isolating profession, particularly if you’re the religion teacher. Even though you’re surrounded by people all day long, you hardly have a moment to collect your thoughts, and your colleagues are just as overworked. It’s also very draining to balance the classroom time, preparations, staff meetings, conferences, chaperoning, sponsoring activities, etc. with something resembling spiritual growth.
That’s why I really like this slim volume of reflections from fellow Catholic educators from Ave Maria Press – 5 Minutes with Christ: Spiritual Nourishment for Busy Teachers. The format is easily digestible – short essays on various snippets from the Gospels, tied to the life of a catechist and the call to discipleship. Each chapter was contributed by a graduate or associate of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education program, which sounds like a terrific model for formation of teachers as disciples:
Because good teachers need excellent formation, ACE prepares its teachers in an innovative Master of Education program at Notre Dame, which brings them to campus for two summers of intensive training and then sends them out into classrooms during the school year…While teaching, they live in small Christian communities of four to seven members and together share the many challenges and rewards of beginning teaching…ACE teachers develop their professional skills and personal spirituality in the context of community, sharing with one another the journey of becoming committed Catholic school teachers.
What a fantastic way to prepare teachers in Catholic schools – but of course many of us come to the profession via a more circuitous route. (I myself went through a similar cohort-based program for teaching social studies, but my career as a religion teacher began after I applied for a job teaching history at a Catholic high school.) It could be that you’re teaching a section of religion on top of your primary job as a math teacher, or that you came to the classroom from another profession and are getting your formal training “on the job.”
This series of reflections by fellow teachers and administrators is a window into the experiences of your fellow religious educators, and it’s both inspiring and frank in addressing the challenges you may face.
Four classes to prep.
Thirty-two pages to read.
Forty-eight essays to grade.
Three parents to call.
Fourteen e-mails to reply to.
…Whether it is an issue of disrespect or someone cheating on a quiz by writing answers on the bottom of a shoe, Jesus’ call to forgive without number is a challenge. It is also a constant and often-needed reminder that students deserve forgiveness and a second chance. And, just as important on many days, it is a reminder that teachers do too.
– Beth Burau, “Forgiveness”
This is a book that could be given to all of the faculty at a Catholic school – would make a nice discussion-starter for talking about the Christian character of the school and how it relates to the day-to-day responsibilities of teachers. It’s like having a little cheering section to pick you up after a difficult day, and a spiritual director to help you focus on the deeper meaning of your relationships with your students and your role in their spiritual growth.
Disclaimer: Jared Dees, super-duper religious educator, sent me a copy of this book to preview.