1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
My favorite bible verse matches beautifully to the vocation of a religion teacher. What a privilege it is to share the Good News with little saints in the making! It is thrilling to listen to children share their faith and love for Jesus. This is the best part of being a religion teacher. Rejoice always!
How can I teach about Jesus without spending time with Him first? Praying continually provides a source of wisdom and strength for daily teaching. I pray on my way to work, at the start of each lesson with my students, before lesson planning, when the copy machine won’t work, if a student needs my prayers…the list goes on! Most of the time, I just pray that I will teach well and that the Holy Spirit will guide my lessons. Pray continually!
A thankful heart is a happy heart. Giving thanks in all circumstances is a way of trusting that God has a plan for everything and that He is with us each step of the way. Whenever I feel that I am in a challenging situation I try to remember to thank God for some aspect of it. I certainly don’t always remember to do this, but when I do, I find renewed optimism. Focusing on the blessings of being a teacher provides a burst of joy and happiness. Give thanks in all circumstances!
Finally, I would like to share a quote from Pope Francis:
“Even if at times it may be difficult and require a great deal of work, and although the results are not always what we hope for, teaching the faith is something beautiful! It is perhaps the best legacy we can pass on: the faith!”
I love this encouraging quote by Pope Francis from The International Congress on Catechesis. When seeking God’s will as a teacher it is good to remember that we are teaching a subject that is truly all about life-long learning and beyond! The work that we do is for Jesus, our loving Savior. That’s definitely something to rejoice about! Let us proudly take St. Paul’s words to heart as we teach with the joy of the Gospel.
Ingredients for an Engaging Lesson
Variety is the spice of life! I’ve come to realize that variety is also paramount to planning an effective religion lesson. Adding a little “seasoning” is very helpful for engaging a classroom full of personalities and learning styles. I want my students to love learning about God and to feel that they are valued and successful during my lessons. Adding a little “salt and pepper” to each lesson-art, music, technology, drama, or a game can make learning objectives memorable and enjoyable. In addition, I try to include a variety of spiritual experiences. Some students respond best to quiet and peaceful prayers, and some students respond best to exciting prayer cheers. Why not include both? I’m always searching for new ways to achieve this and it’s interesting to see how my students respond. One of the parents of a kindergarten student I had last year told me a delightful story. The sweet girl told her mom that she had a new talent. When she asked her daughter what it was she happily told her, “Religion!”