BLOGS  >  JANUARY 10, 2022

Why Teach at a Catholic School?

BY AMY RAEMONT


Every educator can list dozens of reasons why they choose to teach. They love working with children (or teenagers), they want to help shape the next generation, or they’re anxious to share their passions while inspiring students to find theirs. The reasons that new teachers offer probably overlap more consistently than those cited by more experienced educators because, well, new teachers don’t know what they don’t know! What drives their “whys” evolves each year as they discover what they’re good at and how they can best apply their skills to serve their students.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are 131,000 public Grades K-12 schools, while the National Catholic Education Association reports that there are only 5,981 Catholic schools. Catholic educators still commit to teaching their students, but they also pledge to share the Church’s mission. Yes, they’re teaching literature, math, and science, but they’re framing these subjects around students’ religious, moral, and spiritual development. 

I taught at a Catholic high school in the Chicago suburbs for 13 years and was the school’s technology integration coach for five years. I watched many teachers depart for public schools because they would make more money, teach a wider variety of elective classes, or work in a larger school system. But many of us stayed. We called ourselves “lifers.” Because of our school’s unique mission, we committed each year to grow not only professionally, but spiritually. Each year, after the first faculty mass, we signed a mission statement. It hung in the main office, a symbol of the choice each of us made to nurture the academic and spiritual needs of our students.

Educators who teach in Catholic schools are intentionally choosing a less-traveled path with different standards and expectations than those of their teaching peers. They also work for schools with declining enrollment and community support, which adds stress to an already demanding job. What calls them to this career?

What is your reason?

Help celebrate this dedication and passion during Celebrate Catholic Schools Week from January 30 through February 5 by asking educators to share why they’ve answered the calling to teach in a Catholic school, then share their responses with your community. To help you out, we’re providing a simple activity that you can use to decorate your school’s hallways, share on social media, or send to your families. 

Materials needed:
• The “Why I Teach in a Catholic School” Template
• Markers

Optional materials:    
• Scissors (if you’d like to cut out your speech bubble more precisely) 
• Popsicle sticks (if you’d like to turn your documents into signs)

How it works:
• Set up a workstation with your materials and plenty of table space in the faculty lounge or another common area.
• Send an email blast to your teachers to let them know they’re invited to make a statement sharing their passion for Catholic schools. Include the days and times you’ll have materials available. 
• When teachers arrive, provide them with an empty speech bubble and a marker. Consider giving them some sentence starters, too, such as:
 - I chose to teach at a Catholic school because __________.
 - Teaching at a Catholic school is important to me because __________.
 - When I think about teaching at a Catholic school, I feel _(adjective)_  because __________.
• When they’re finished, take a picture of each teacher holding up their sign. Position them in front of a lovely backdrop, so they look their best!
• If you’re going to trim the speech bubbles or add sticks to make them into signs, save the teachers’ responses to tackle this task later. You can meet up with the teachers afterward to grab their pictures!

Organizing:
• Save image files with the teachers’ full names and their titles. A consistent file-naming convention will make it easier for the person who posts them on social media or builds them into a slide show or video.
• Create a shared folder where you’ll drop the images.
• If you’re going to use the images in a display, print them out from the shared folder.

Ideas:
These are great images to post to social media on Teacher Appreciation Day, or you can spread them out over Catholic Schools Week.
• Include the hashtag #CSW22 and your own school’s hashtag if you’d like.
• Hang printed images in the hallway where students can see them. Add a QR code to a simple Google form where students can send a response.
• Create a display near the school’s office where visitors can view the pictures.
• When Catholic Schools Week is over, consider asking teachers to hang their pictures on their classroom doors or in their rooms.
 

Inspiration:

We'd love to see pictures of your tables tents! Post them on social media and tag us at @FollettClass on Twitter, and @FollettClassroom on Facebook and Instagram.  

Here's to a great Catholic Schools Week! 
    
*Looking for more way to celebrate Catholic Schools Week? Check out our next blog about our fun tent templates to use to decorate your school! 


AMY RAEMONT
Amy Raemont is a marketing communications copywriter at Follett School Solutions. She worked at a Catholic high school for 13 years as an English and journalism teacher and five years as an instructional technology coach. She’s a Google Certified Educator and Google Certified Trainer. Her love of technology started in eighth grade when she received her first computer, a Radio Shack TRS-80.

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