Perhaps one of the most operative words for us at Marist High School this year is “change.” In the midst of change, there is always the tendency to think that what we had was better. Most of us might agree that what we had was familiar, not necessarily better.
What can we do in times like these? What can and will sustain us as we grow into the change we are experiencing?
Parker Palmer, author of The Courage to Teach says that there are four essential questions for teachers:
1) What do we teach?
2) How do we teach it?
3) Why do we teach?
4) Who is the “self” that teaches?
He says that we tend to focus on the first two questions because of their practicality. He goes on to say that often we don’t get to or we choose not to answer the last two questions because of their personal nature.
Perhaps reflecting on the last two questions could be a good way for us grow into the change we are experiencing, for even in the midst of change, the unchanging reality is that we have chosen to be teachers because we love what we do, and we love the young people whom we teach.
Focusing on Palmer’s last two questions is at the heart of his book. The “courage to teach” he says is not about working with teenagers, but about our willingness to reveal who we are by what we do. The document, In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat: A Vision for Marist Education Today echoes Palmer when it says,
“We sense their eyes on us, examining our credibility as adult role models.” (61)
As a Catholic school community, it is important for us to recall that we believe that the Holy Spirit guides our work. If we can embrace that concept, then we will see that the change we are experiencing in these early days of the school year will eventually prove itself to be the necessary and fruitful evolution of the mission of Marist High School.
This Monday Minute is from Brother Hank Hammer, who is listening to “Amazing Grace” the version sung by Judy Collins or her album, “Whales and Nightingales.” It is a timeless classic, but also a great reminder of the grace that comes from trusting that God is leading us. Listen in at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtteRD5bBNQ