Bl. Basil Moreau Confraternity of Teachers

 As teachers, we need prayer, and prayer perfects our teaching. Become a Member of the
Bl. Basil Moreau Confraternity and join Catholic teachers around the country strengthening
one another through prayer, and benefiting from the prayers of priests and religious offering their
prayers and sufferings for your work.

October 2020

Reading: From Christian Education by Bl. Basil Moreau

Self-centered Young People 

You will sometimes meet students totally concerned with themselves, often looking at themselves in a mirror, combing and arranging their hair artfully, possessing an affected walk, having touchy or extremely timid characteristics, constantly excusing themselves, and never recognizing any faults they might have. These young people can often be described as two-faced, lying, presumptuous, and bold. In class they will often be the first to attempt to answer questions; when they make mistakes, they will get angry and pout for some time. At the least correction they will feel hurt and wounded. They will always be ready to quarrel with their companions and will always use a lofty and superior tone of voice. 

These actions and attitudes point out to a teacher a self-centered young person. The teacher’s task is to correct this, and there are ways experienced teachers have found to bring about this result. If you find this in one of the students, then rarely speak to the student. When you do speak to the student, do so very seriously. If the student makes an error, do not fail to point it out; when doing this, however, help the student see that the resulting pouting and hurt feelings are ridiculous. Be careful always about not allowing the student to respond to your corrections as a teacher, and help the student understand the ridiculousness of his or her feelings and pouting in private as well as in public. Always, however, approach the student in a way that holds him or her in respect.§
 

Self-opinionated Young People

Sometimes there are students who refuse to carry out responsibilities given them, who are stubborn to the point that all threats and punishments seem to have no effect on them, and who lay open resistance to a teacher’s authority. There are others who eventually give in but do so with such bad grace that they murmur aloud and make noises which disturb their fellow students’ attention. Sometimes, those who give in to the teacher assume a posture that is a kind of defiance of the teacher by putting their heads down on their desks, by making ridiculous faces, or by imitating the gestures of the teacher when the teacher isn’t watching. 

Teachers should first avoid as much as possible giving occasion for such scenes, which can harm the good order of the class and undermine the authority of the teacher. If a teacher has not been able to foresee and prevent this situation, the teacher should refrain from responding too severely until convinced of the seriousness of a student’s behavior and the punishment deserved. When a teacher finds it necessary to punish a student in this situation, the teacher should wait until the student’s excited state is calmed down and he or she can be talked to without arousing a greater state of disrespect. The teacher has everything to gain by playing for time, since pushing the student to the limit will gain the teacher nothing. When the teacher notices that the young person is calmer, the teacher should use that moment to speak with the student, bringing the student, in an offhand way, to admit to both the original problem and the resistance to the teacher’s authority. A teacher will in this way help the student understand that a punishment is necessary only to repair the poor example he or she has given to other students. 
 

Be sure to carry out the punishment while displaying great concern for the student, even if you ask the student to apologize publicly for the behavior. If the student persists in his disobedience, the student should be referred to other school authorities so that they can consider ways of helping the young person. A teacher should always take the opportunity to speak with the student’s parents about the situation so that the teacher’s authority is not compromised. Dismissal from school, however, should be used only as a last resort, after all other means of working with the student have been tried. Teachers and schools should proceed in the same way when dealing with students for whom penalties seem to be counterproductive.§ 

Meditation — Andrew Seeley

 
As I read through Blessed Basil’s accounts of difficult students, I recall old pictures I have seen of a single Catholic nun sitting at the head of a classroom filled with 60 or more students from the impoverished immigrant working classes. I try to imagine how they could possibly maintain any order, much less promote real learning and character formation. Blessed Basil suggests that one key was an honest assessment of the particular difficulties some students present for themselves and for the success of the class. A firm sense of one’s authority coupled with a deep respect for the dignity of the student provides the correct foundation for treating such students in as effective a way as possible. Prayerfully thinking through how to handle difficult situations allows a teacher to maintain composure while instilling discipline effectively.
 

Examen

Have I avoided confronting troublesome students out of fear of failure or embarrassment? Have I let difficult situations fester until I lose my patience? In dealing with difficult students, have I kept in mind the good of the whole class as well as of the individual student?

Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for giving me a sense of relief as a teacher. Even a blessed of the Church experienced the same kinds of bad student behavior that have appeared in my classes. Help me to speak to troublesome students with loving firmness in a way best suited to help them commit to reforming their own behavior, and always to rely more on Your grace than my words.

(Please also offer one Mass and one Rosary some time this month for the intentions of the members of the Confraternity.)

 

Please pray for the needs of your fellow teachers:

For all school leaders as they make the decisions and face the trials of this new school year. Lord, grant them wisdom and peace. – Amy

For the virtues of perseverance and studiousness as I begin graduate studies in philosophy of education. – Tomas

Lord Jesus, bless Annemarie, who is in the hospital, and her husband.

For inspiration, guidance, and blessings for a start-up school working with their home diocese–that the Lord will guide all parties to perfectly carry out his will.

The father of a student of one of our members has died, leaving behind a young family. We pray for the repose of his soul and for the consolation of his family, as well as for wisdom and peace for his teacher and the rest of the school community.

Please pray for Phil, a doctor from Denver, CO, who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Phil is the father of 7 young children. 

Please pray for the family of Matthew and Terrie Walz. Matthew is a professor at the University of Dallas, and a friend of the Institute. Terrie’s father has been diagnosed with brain tumor; the CoVid crisis has made getting treatment difficult and dangerous.

For the healing and containment of the Coronavirus disease and for all those who have been affected – physically, economically, and spiritually.

Please pray for Fr. John Belmonte, SJ, Superintendent in the Diocese of Joliat, Illinois, who will soon be undergoing surgery to repair a broken shoulder.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Suzanne Fessler, long-time principal at St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix, who oversaw the transition of the high school to a focus on the development of wisdom and virtue.

For Father Frank Brawner and his health, healing, and continued strength in his ministry. – Susan

For the healing of Shirley Balangue, mother of Cyril Cruz, Principal of Holy Innocents School in Long Beach, CA.

For the continued health and healing of Simon Vander Weele, son of Rosemary and Jon Vander Weele of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Classical School in Denver, CO.

Pray for healing for Mr. K., Latin teacher at an ICLE member school. We ask for healing and relief from fluid buildup in the lung and cancer.

Please pray for a wonderful theology professor who is undergoing persecution for upholding Catholic teaching on sexuality. – Andrew

My wife’s conversion to Catholicism. – Adam

Increase in fertility, marriage, families; for grandparents; for a special spouse for a friend. – Rosemary

For the Holy Spirit’s increase in the hearts of all concerned with Catholic education in the Pensacola-Tallahassee diocese, especially that He lead us into deeper prayer, greater intimacy with Him. – Leslie

Souls in Purgatory especially those who have no one to pray for them; those in the Bahamas and elsewhere affected by natural disasters. – Lisa

Please pray that I teach and love my students and teachers as would Christ the Teacher. – Joseph & Juliana

For a new teacher in 5th grade; for our Johnsburg Catholic school to become Classical Liberal Arts; for increase in marriage, fertility, families; for young adults’ conversion and love for Jesus and His Church. – Rosemary

Help making good choices about family issues. – Susan

That our parish school community would grow as an evangelizing community, proclaiming, encountering and responding to the kerygmatic proclamation of Jesus Christ. – Nathalie

That Catholic schools and parents be of one heart and one mind by creating their institutions and homes coherently, as “missionary outposts of the Universal Church” with one goal: that the truth of all things, beginning and ending in Jesus Christ, be known and loved through the details in everything. – Ruth

For teachers everywhere. – Chris