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Seek out the student in need of love, affirmation

Archbishop Jason Gordon walks among the teachers during his presentation. Photo: Gerard-Paul Wanliss

Archbishop Jason Gordon warned Catholic educators that if they do not see their profession as a vocation, then they should leave as it will impede students from receiving the moral and spiritual development they require.

The archbishop made this dramatic point at the Catholic Primary School Teachers’ Day of Renewal last Wednesday at the Centre of Excellence, Bougainvillea Hall.

The conference’s theme was Missionary Discipleship—Living Your Vocation.

Attendees included Sharon Mangroo, CEO Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM); Mennen Walker-Briggs, Director Primary and Secondary Division at CEBM; vicariate managers; and teachers.

In his address to the gathering, Archbishop Gordon challenged the educators “Who are you making a difference to? Is God your number one priority? Do you live as if God is your number one priority?” He reminded teachers “Anytime you are not living as the best version of yourself, you affect all of us because you’re bringing a second- or third-rate version of yourself to your classroom, to your parish community….”

The archbishop said that he is very passionate about Catholic education, adding that the person he is today is because he went to a good Catholic school. “Everything I do today I learned because I was at Fatima College…that’s the value of Catholic education. The people who touched me deepest were the people who saw themselves as instruments of God and called by God to do what they were doing and they turned up every day.”

Archbishop Gordon believed that if it had not been for his former teacher, Steve Williams, who recognised a vocation in teaching, then he would have never found his true potential and his life “would have gone in a totally different direction”.

“I would not, or probably would not, have become a priest and if I did, I would have never reached to the Archbishop of Port of Spain,” he declared.

Archbishop Gordon beseeched the educators to search for the child that needs affirmation, encouragement and love, “the child who left absolute confusion at home and whose home life is so chaotic that when they come they have to be disruptive because they have nothing settling at home”. “Allyuh know that child? You ever met that child?” he asked. The answer was a resounding ‘Yes’ from the crowd.

Archbishop Gordon, a dyslexic, also reminded the educators to recognise the dyslexic child, who could be the next Archbishop of Port of Spain, Prime Minister or the next inventor. – KJ