A lay teacher from the Catholic education system offers teachers of all persuasions some usefull reminders.
Let us pray for all who are sick, hungry, oppressed or tormented, but especially let us pray in our hearts for all who, though they are in no great pain, misery or want, suffer the mediocre afflictions that can blight our mental and spiritual lives and blunt our purpose: boredom, purposelessness, lack of humour, lack of understanding, preoccupation with unworthy ambitions, numbness of heart, alienation, sourness of spirit, bitterness and fatigue, pettiness and all seemingly minor conditions that can creep so insidiously into our lives.
Let us pray that all who suffer may receive new insight. Let us pray that we may encourage them and lighten their spirit.
Let us pray for the kids in our care. Let us pray that the evil influences assailing them from our secular society, and from the media, in the long run fail to shape their hearts, thoughts and souls. Let us pray that our own influence is a good, strong and wholesome one.
Let us pray that our labours shall not be profitless and wasted; that they be fruitful, valuable and of lasting effect. Let us pray for guidance in the performance of our duties. May we be imaginative, adaptive and enlightened. May we overcome the petty annoyances that are part and parcel of the teachers' lot.
Mary, Mother of the Church, was a fine educator, she passed her skills to her son, the greatest teacher the world has known. Yet he knew the realistics of teaching. The frustrations. The limitations. The dull student. The student who is sleepy. The student who is hungry, and thinks of nothing else. The lesson that is wasted. The lesson that is ignored. The lesson that is interrupted. The stupid question. The question set to trick the master. All are related in Scripture. Indeed, if anyone knows the teachers' lot, Jesus does: Lord, let me lean on you in the practice of my profession.
Lord, you were a child and you were a master. Give us a perfect understanding of the way you would have us be in relation to our students.
Lord help us to understand the problems of our students whose lives are often unhappy in ways we do not know. Many are far from home, far from family and friends. Many are home, but unhappy; beset with problems of growing up. Many cannot make sense of the world presented in radically different ways by church, school, home, society and the media. Lord help us to be people of understanding.
Lord help us to understand those with whom we work. May we work toward an atmosphere of supportive loving-kindness in the service of the children of Christ's Church.
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