I have had the honor to teach in many different settings from large urban public schools to suburban public schools to small rural private Catholic schools and I even ran my own home-school classroom.
Currently, I am teaching in a large, suburban Catholic school, which also happens to be my alma mater.
My favorite things about teaching in a Catholic school are the students and their parents, the ability to participate in the sacraments during the work week.
God answered a huge prayer when he brought me home to St. Alphonsus. Never in a million billion years did I ever dream that one day I would be teaching here.
Our God is a God of surprises, as anyone trying to walk the narrow path knows.
The parents are amazing. They care very much about their children’s academic development and even more about their spiritual lives. They are also very generous with their time and their resources.
Their children are all very “good” kids. They have respect for adults and a deep desire to learn. They also have a thirst for the only subject they need to get into heaven which is religion.
Weaving Catholic teaching into a day like today, Martin Luther King Junior Day, is such a privilege and one I don’t take lightly. Being able to talk freely and openly about Catholicism is a little slice of heaven in and of itself.
We talk a lot about how important it is to use the gifts and talents God gave us but also how our main task is to know God, serve God and love God.
Religion is the most important subject, because without it, the gates of heaven will be harder to reach.
The best part of teaching in a Catholic school is getting to attend Mass during the school week and also having the ability to stop in the church and pray with my students or without them.
Having the opportunity to go to confession/reconciliation with your class creates the kind of spiritual community that we were all meant to be part of. Teaching religion is my favorite subject because those are the lessons that will help form my student’s consciences and help them know right from wrong.
As Michael Kelly is famous for saying, “Do you want to be a tourist in life or a pilgrim?”
In my classroom, I am preparing pilgrims on the path toward heaven and I consider that to be some of the most important work on earth!
(Grogan is a third grade teacher at St. Alphonsus School, Greendale.)