Become missionary disciples, Archbishop tells teachers
What if every teacher at Catholic schools visited the families of two of their students every term?
This idea was proposed by Archbishop Jason Gordon as he addressed the Day of Renewal for teachers of RC primary schools organised by the Archdiocesan Catechetical office at the Centre of Excellence Thursday, October 17.
“When you go to the family, I am sure conversations will open with you and them that will allow you to reach out and do something that will help that family and help you to teach that child better also. Is that possible?” said Archbishop Gordon.
Through going out and meeting people where they are to share the faith, teachers deepened their understanding about what is happening in the lives of their pupils and families.
“Sometimes all a child needs is for a teacher, one teacher, to notice them and to try and understand what is happening in their lives,” he told the teachers. Archbishop Gordon was speaking about “evangelisation”, as he discussed the four signs of a missionary disciple. The other points were prayer, study, generosity.
Using himself as an example, he said after entering Fatima College he was “lost” but a teacher named Steve Williams gave lessons to help a few students. Archbishop Gordon said, “I found my way through Form One and actually understood what they were teaching in the classroom.” His work so improved that he skipped Form Two and went to Form Three.
He said one teacher doing missionary discipleship can transform a child, helping them move from failure to success. Archbishop Gordon added, “Look for the children in your classroom, especially the ones that are mischievous, misbehaving, that are not doing the work well, that are not spelling properly, they can’t read. Look at those children and find in those children where their real gift is but also what their real challenge is.”
He suggested schools reach out to communities to teach pupils the importance of service. “What are our schools doing to teach our children that service to others, reaching out to others is important?” he asked.
Archbishop Gordon said evangelisation was as simple as sharing a book that was read, website or video. “We like to send a lot of foolishness on WhatsApp. When last have you sent something inspiring and uplifting to your people?” he said. Some responded they had sent on that day.
In a culture where people have stopped reading, he implored teachers to “study” their faith by reading deeply, broadly and regularly. He noted there were “excellent spiritual writers” available like Matthew Kelly. “We cannot continue sharing our ignorance around…giving our children and ourselves answers that are half-baked,” Archbishop Gordon commented.
For each of the four signs of being a missionary disciple, teachers had a worksheet to rate themselves and list three commitments “God is asking” of them. —LPG