I recently read a book called ‘Educating Hearts‘ by A Maher and B. Hanley which made me stop and think again about the vocation of teaching and the place of the Catholic school in the universal church. What do I think is the purpose of Catholic schools today? In the complexity of our society and the various understandings of what it means to be Catholic, how do we as an organisation endeavour to educate the heart!
Maher and Hanley purpose that there are seven characteristics of a good school:
- Service – Being given opportunities to serve others.
- Community – Being a school that fosters community collaboration
- Teachers – Having teachers who are respected and respectful
- Spirituality– Recognising the transcendent. Putting God at the centre.
- Diversity– Being taught in an environment that values acceptance.
- Care of the Individual– Being valued as a unique loving individual
- Process– Being in a context that values process as well as content.
They continue to say “Implementing the seven characteristics within schools affirms the outstanding virtues of courage, humility, mate-ship, self-sacrifice, compassion, joy, resilience, understanding, gentleness and strength…devising initiatives that allow young people to experience through care of their neighbour, the incredible depth of their own humanity.
Thomas Groome writes that “it is a sacred privilege and an awesome responsibility to be an educator. And it may be the closest we have to a universal human vocation” . (Thomas Groome 1998, p.34.)
I wonder where God is in the story of education.
I wonder where God is in your story as an educator.
Groome, T 1998. Educating For Life. Crossroads Publishing, New York.
Maher, A & Hanley, B 2013, Educating Hearts. St Paul’s Publications, Strathfield, NSW.