I began my teaching  career as a public middle school English teacher in 1995. Fast forward six years, and it was time for my firstborn to enter formal education.

I wanted to make a difference and be a light where the greatest need might be. I truly felt called to be Christ in the public school arena and witness a new way of interacting with students. I saw each of my students created in the image of our Creator and knew that God called me to witness a new way—void of sarcasm, belittling statements, unconstructive criticisms and general negativity. I was strict, yet fair and did my best to uphold a Christ-like demeanor during the most challenging times.

One thing that became apparent was that I wanted my own children to learn in a certain environment. Even as a young teacher, I knew that I wanted my own children to experience God’s grace out in the open with prayer, song and acknowledgement of the faith that drives all of our decisions and actions. God put it upon my heart that our children would be fully formed in Him through a faith-filled education within a Catholic community. It was the best decision we ever made. Both of my children, now adults, have traversed real life with its disappointments and challenges and emerged grateful for their faith communities that stood with them, uplifted them, fortified them and celebrated their blessings. The bonds of friendship formed in Catholic school have proven invaluable and lain the foundation for adult faith communities and Christ-centered support systems that will last a lifetime.

There is an IT factor that Catholic school children embody and then exude as adults. Catholics are connected to humanity in a way that I have yet to witness in other faith traditions. Catholic school children are bred to be good Samaritans to all marginalized groups and people. Since kindergarten, they have experienced stewardship as a practice and naturally band together to complete successful service projects such as funding other needy communities with walk-a-thons, or collecting gently used coats and blankets for the homeless during winter or coming together with resources and prayer to support a specific family in crisis.

The Catholic charism of charity is universal in its nature and breaks through societal barriers bringing the light of Christ to all. All are welcome at His table. I want to be a part of that. I want to be a cog in the wheel that yields faith-filled Catholic school children who go out into the world and do what they know—who innately organize, gather, share, build and heal the world around them.

As a Catholic educator, I have the awareness and understanding that I have been intimately involved in this religious faith formation and I know that this is what I am called to do.

We, as Catholic educators, are involved at the ground level of something infinitely greater than we can imagine. There is no way to know the reach of the good work we do through Catholic education; however, we do know for certain that the work we do positively impacts the world through the children and families we serve. There is a profound fullness in life knowing that God is using us to further His kingdom through his most precious ones, children. This is why I am a Catholic school teacher.