Lessons from My Friends, the Saints

Saint Therese of Lisieux

I like to refer to the saints of the Catholic Church as my friends, and I reach out to them several times a day. Who are the saints I turn to during my teaching day?

My teaching philosophy is, “Love the children first, then teach them.” This quote is attributed to St. Mother Théodore Guérin. What more can I say about this quote? Spending seven hours a day with a classroom of students that one didn’t love—or even like—would make for a very long day.

I also reach out to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. She is the patroness of our school, and I have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Some days I find myself taking a deep breath and saying, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you!”

I also often practice a quote attributed to St. Teresa of Calcutta: “Smiles generate smiles, just as love generates love.” My students ask me, “Do you ever stop smiling?”

But St. Thérèse of Lisieux is the saint I reach out to the most. Her example and her Little Way fit into my daily lessons with my students. I practice her Little Way by welcoming my students with a big smile and a cheerful “Good Morning.” This sets off our day together on a happy note. St. Therese would specifically reach out to the sisters who had difficult personality traits and work with them with love and patience. That lesson reminds me to be mindful of the gift of my students’ curiosity and patiently answer their questions as the day moves from one activity to another.

I encourage you to study the lives of the saints and listen to them throughout your teaching day. Not only will they give you saintly advice, but they will lead you to a happier day!

This post was inspired by the book Little Lessons from the Saints by Bob Burnham.

About Barb Gilman 50 Articles
Barb Gilman is a wife, mother, and third-grade Catholic school teacher. She is the winner of the 2014 NCEA Distinguished Teacher Award for the Plains States. Active on social media, @BarbinNebraska is the co-organizer of the #CatholicEdChat on Twitter.

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