Why We Teach: Catholic educators discuss inspiration behind their vocation

By Paul McMullen
pmcmullen@CatholicReview.org
During Catholic Schools Week, the Catholic Review asked five educators in the Archdiocese of Baltimore to share the inspiration behind their vocation.

Anne Barton
St. Maria Goretti High School, Hagerstown
Science Teacher
Teaching is an opportunity to engage in the growth and development of a student. I teach biology to inspire them to understand and appreciate their interconnected role within the living world. I teach to challenge students to think critically and use the tools of science to question and discover the uniqueness of creation around and within them; to build confidence through academic rigor where students achieve their fullest potential; and to  ignite a lifelong love for learning and a desire to be passionate for whatever discipline will direct their future.
 
Christian Bentley
St. John the Evangelist School, Hydes
Physical Education Teacher
This past election cycle, observing the method by which many develop their worldview, reminded me why I teach. Too many adults believe that education should lead to one conclusion, to conformity. Quality education isn’t a library; it’s a toolbox. It’s the development of critical thinking skills, and the curiosity to question that understanding in order to build upon it. Education shouldn’t lead to one idea, it should lead to the questioning of everything, including one’s own conclusions. I teach to contribute to a generation of curious question-askers.
 
Kristi Ogilvie
St. Jane Frances School, Pasadena
Third grade Teacher
Teaching is a path that is full of twists and turns, but each new challenge makes me realize how blessed I am to teach. I embrace the process of figuring out how each student will learn, no matter how many different strategies I have to try. I relish the way a child smiles with confidence after they “get” it, even if I have given endless hours to get there. I love that every day I wake up and go to a place that feels like home. The path I have taken to become a teacher is worth every bump along the way.
 

Heather Schell

Trinity School (Class of ‘84), Ellicott City
Religion Teacher
My fourth-grade teacher at Trinity School made every day special. She taught with a little extra something, sharing stories, hugs and endless smiles. I loved school, but did not want to teach. After years of God calling me to this vocation, I finally listened. Five years ago, the principal of Trinity School offered me my dream job, teaching where Lynn Leaf had taught me in fourth grade. Leaf remains my inspiration to smile and share God’s love with my students. I hope they remember the impact of a smile.
 

Lauren Urban
The Seton Keough High School, Baltimore
Dean of Academics
I was blessed with many adults who inspired me to pursue a career in education. Mark Pacione helped me see that by teaching in Catholic schools, I could combine my love of science and theology and have an impact on the young church. I’m thankful that my parents chose to send me to the Cathedral School and Notre Dame Preparatory, and then to Creighton University, where these interests were fostered. My love of Catholic education has only grown since working as a science teacher and administrator. 

Read more stories about Catholic education here.

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Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.