As you prepare to re-enter the classrooms of the 2016-2017 school year, on behalf of the children, teachers or adult learners you will encounter, I say thank you. I hope you have found time this summer to recreate and refresh your inner selves for the important work you are called to accomplish each and every day in the classrooms, the fields or schoolyards, or on the stages of schools and colleges. Yours is a tremendous responsibility, assumed for all of society.
During these remaining weeks of summer, take time to nourish your own bodies and souls. What you eat, what you read, how you pray and how you play will affect your influence in the classroom. Take care, enjoy a good book, eat well, pray and play hard!
Each one of us has been touched by the goodness of at least one, if not many teachers. A teacher who, like Michelangelo, saw the inner beauty in a slab of marble. One teacher who has lovingly chiseled the rough edges; perhaps another who has smoothed the contours. A great teacher helps students recognize the qualities, gifts and talents within — a pattern in the soul that cannot be replicated by any other individual. The impact and influence of a good teacher may not be realized or appreciated for years, or even decades. Take time to reflect on the teacher or teachers who have helped to create the masterpiece that you are. If they are still alive, thank them. If they are gone or not accessible, offer a prayer of thanksgiving.
The Vatican Council Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis, states, “Beautiful indeed and of great importance is the vocation of those who aid parents in fulfilling their duties.”
Like parents, teachers are co-creators with God in developing the fullness of each person made in God’s image. We are called to be with parents in their responsibility as “first teachers of their children.” How tremendous is this vocation! The human community owes its gratitude to all teachers. Our Catholic community is filled with gratitude for the teachers who assume this responsibility in our schools.
Again, on behalf of our students and their parents, thank you for answering the call to see Christ in your students and to help students recognize Christ within themselves and others.
Mary P. Boyle
Superintendent of Catholic Schools