I’m now into my third year teaching at a Catholic high school and I honestly can’t believe how blessed I am to be working in a place where I get paid to talk about God, where I can live my faith openly and the best one…I get paid to go to Mass! Seriously?
Teaching in a Catholic school with an Archbishop who deeply cares about educating youth (He translated the YouCat into English and has written on Catholic education a lot), has also inspired me to be a better Catholic, to learn more about my faith and to not be so afraid to be open about it. It has also made me realize what a huge responsibility teaching the faith is. It can feel very daunting at times, but the Holy Spirit always seems to be there when I can’t think of a lesson, or how I can help a certain student.
Yet, I also wonder how long Catholic schools will be able to stay Catholic. Already, many of our teachings go against the cultural norm of our society, and every year the government seems to be infringing on our religious rights. Luckily, many of these new “policies” in education have been over turned – like that one case in Ontario where the minister of education said Catholic schools would no longer be able to teach that abortion is wrong. However, a recent case in Montreal just lost it’s appeal and Catholic schools will have to include a neutral religious/morality ethics class for their students.
So many parents scrimp and save just to be able to put their children in Catholic school, what will happen when we no longer can keep our Catholic identity? If we can’t be true to our roots what is the difference between us and a public school? In fact recent studies have shown just that. According to one study, Catholic school graduates have the same views on faith in the public square as graduates from public schools and going to Catholic school does not necessarily mean your child will stay Catholic. This study seems to suggest that the pressures to change from the outside world have already happened in Catholic schools. Perhaps in some, but I don’t see it in my school, in fact, I see a renewal of the faith. Especially when I look back several years ago from when I was a student at this same school. This is a positive sign and I pray that we will be able to continue that renewal of faith.