By Joyce Gan
SINGAPORE - Instead of shopping or sleeping in, some 50 Catholic teachers decided to spend Teacher's Day at a talk and Mass organized by the Catholic Teachers' Movement at Church of the Risen Christ.
Despite not knowing one another, they all shared a common sense of their vocation as Catholic teachers.
Right, Good Shepherd Sister Delphine Kang, spiritual adviser to the Catholic Teachers' Movement, gave a talk titled "You Call Me Teacher", substantiated with scriptural quotes on how we call Jesus our teacher.
Sandra Simon, who teaches Food and Nutrition at St. Gabriel's Secondary School, said she wanted to be present to pray for all teachers in Singapore. "I do believe we all need strength and faith to guide our students - these are important in our vocation," she said.
Regina Euw from the Convent of Holy Infant Jesus, Our Lady of Nativity, shared the same view. "It is my vocation and I want to meet other Catholic teachers," she said. She also expressed her interest in Good Shepherd Sister Delphine's talk.
The talk was titled "You Call Me Teacher". Sister Delphine took this opportunity to pose several questions to the teachers present and to emphasize on their roles as Catholic teachers.
She asked, "When our students ask us questions, what kind of answers do we give? Can we hear more than the words uttered?"
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"Do we compromise and make life look easy to our students? Our Christian faith challenges us to take up the cross even as society clamours for comfort."
"What do you say to your students who sometimes recognize you for who you are - a Catholic teacher, a disciple of Jesus?"
She reminded the teachers that "students must be able to pick out the signs that Jesus is behind" the patience and efforts made. After all, "our students are there for us to put our Christian love to practiceâ€¦ and those with special needs are those Jesus will reach out to the most," reminded Sister Delphine.
"They call you teacher. May it be the God in you that your students carry with them," she encouraged.
The need for teachers to radiate Christ is heightened when they were reminded that their role as Catholic teachers extends beyond the classroom.
"Catholic education is more than just within the walls of Catholic schools," said Sister Julia Ong, coordinator of Archdiocesan Commission for Catholic Schools' diploma in Religious Education. She expressed her hope that more Catholic teachers will play an active part in religious education in Catholic schools, "so we can come together on this journey of integration between faith and life".