Friday, January 29, 2010

Teaching as Jesus taught

The Catholic News - SEPTEMBER 27 2009, Vol 59, No 20

Patricia Lim (CHIJ Primary) and Gregory Francis (Swiss Cottage) chat after Mass during the Teacher’s Day celebrations. Photo provided by ACCS

Catholic teachers celebrate Teacher’s Day; archbishop reminds them of their responsibilities

SINGAPORE – More than 300 Catholic educators celebrated Teachers’ Day on Sep 5. The annual event, held at St. Joseph’s Institution (SJI) International was organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for Catholic Schools (ACCS) to honour Catholic educators.

This year’s theme, “Teaching as Jesus Taught”, was chosen to remind teachers why they teach and that teaching and discipleship are one and the same.

At a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Nicholas Chia, students from Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) Primary formed the choir, and students from CHIJ St. Nicholas, CHIJ St. Theresa’s and SJI International took on the responsibilities of wardens.

In his homily, Archbishop Chia advised the teachers, “Jesus is the Light of the world – you are to be the light to dispel the darkness in the lives of the students and show them the way to grow and mature.” He added, “To teach as Jesus taught we need to imitate Him.”

The archbishop then mentioned the formation of chaplaincy teams, adding “there are a few schools which have very strong teams of chaplains and this is a great help to nurture the Catholic ethos in our schools”.

On the concept of “common space” he said, “We are morally obliged to enable all our students to articulate their beliefs and share their cultures in a learning and community environment.”

He added that our Catholic schools must develop and show the correct notions of Christianity and Catholicism as being a religion that has the Trinitarian traits: worship of God; service to all peoples with no strings attached; and living communities that witness to the unity that exists in God.

To those who teach in government schools and institutions of higher learning, Archbishop Chia said, “You are the leaven in the dough, the salt and the light. You are ambassadors for hope, for love, for charity.”

After Mass, the educators had tea in the hall and met up with old friends and colleagues.

Gregory Francis, a teacher with Swiss Cottage Secondary, agreed with the archbishop’s remarks that emphasis is needed that Catholic parents should send their children to Catholic Schools.

Patricia Lim of CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh) added that at a secular school where she previously taught there was a lack of Catholic culture of prayers and overall character.

Sister Mary Soh, chaplain from Hai Sing Catholic School, felt the theme of the event was meaningful and said, “Jesus became the model for teachers as He had a commitment for love and taught with love.”

Michelle Tan, from CHIJ Secondary said, “As educators we’ve got to look at it as being a vocation. I enjoyed myself today; I’m definitely coming next year.”

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By Don Gurugay