“Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. What teachers do and how they act are more significant than what they say — inside and outside the classroom. That's how the Church evangelizes. The more completely an educator can give concrete witness to the model of the ideal person [Christ] that is being presented to the students, the more this ideal will be believed and imitated.” - Pope Blessed Paul VI
Teachers are called amidst already busy schedules to be more than knowledge transmitters. Students send out signals as they tackle academic and life issues. As a teacher, you have been gifted with the opportunity to respond to your students and to touch their lives by example, by listening, and by providing meaningful feedback. On these pages are some ways that you can encourage vocations to the priesthood, religious life, and other Church leadership without sacrificing time needed to complete your curriculum.
What is Discernment?
To say, “Yes” to God is more about answering a call, than initiating or manufacturing it. The process that leads to hearing the call, answering it, and later affirmation by the Church is called discernment.
In some ways, vocational discernment is similar to career planning. Both involve recognizing talents and personality traits suited to work tasks. However, a vocation is more than just a career in the Church.
A career is what you do; whereas a vocation is who you are.
As a teacher or school administrator or staff, you can help your students develop openness to the possibility of priesthood, religious or consecrated life. Their discernment might begin with you!
How Can You Help?
Research reported by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had identified three stages of occupational decision making. Young children choose what they might like to be when they grow up based on adult role models or idols. Around age 11, children begin to associate occupational choices with their developing interests, talents, and values. By the time they become juniors or seniors in high school, young people engage in more realistic explorations of career and life choices.
Teachers, school administrators and staff are often role models to their students. It would be helpful to take some time to reflect upon your own call to holiness and your important mission as a Catholic educator and mentor.