Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher

Christ, the Teacher, by Brother Mickey McGrath. All Rights Reserved

"Christ, the Teacher" by Brother Mickey O'Neill McGrath, OSFS. All Rights Reserved

by Sr. Suzanne Homeyer, VHM

There is some truth in the saying, “Once a teacher, always a teacher,” don’t you think? Here’s a bit of my personal history that makes me believe this.

When I was in kindergarten (kindergarten, yes at age 5!) my report card bore the following prophetic word: “would make a great teacher!” I honestly don’t know if I believed that but my parents sure did and never let me forget it…..even when I was in graduate school and a part time campus minister my dad would still send me ads from the Chicago newspapers for teaching positions!

The truth is I have taught English, Speech, Journalism, Drama and even German to junior high, high school, and college students in addition to numerous religious education classes and several sessions of the RCIA….and I LOVE TEACHING!!!!!

Now, back to “once a teacher…”

The religion department at Visitation High School in Mendota Heights invited Sr. Mary Frances and me to speak to the members of the Senior Class about service opportunities in North Minneapolis that they could use to fulfill their class requirement.

What would a presentation to these students include to make them want to come to North Minneapolis in their free time to do ‘homework?’

Since I am the ‘field trip czarina’ in our community I thought how perfect the timing of this invitation was —- considering all of the pre-Christmas special events and the opportunity for work with families and children preparing during Advent. What would a presentation to these students include to make them want to come to North Minneapolis in their free time to do ‘homework?’

Elizabeth and Mary: Teachers, Students, Student, Teacher

Elizabeth and Mary: Teacher, Student; Student, Teacher

Sr. Mary Frances and I prepared a simple class outline, gathered materials and walked into the classroom just as the door was closing…no bells in this school!  As  I began to talk about the families and children of the neighborhood that would benefit from their actions I felt the teacher in me rise to the occasion…I had personal stories on the tip of my tongue and I felt my own relationship with our neighbors come alive as I spoke….AND the students were connecting….eye contact and appropriate laughter (always a good sign that your words are hitting home). The first class period just flew by…

The message had gotten through…the beauty of our ministry and the loving relationships our neighbors invite us into was now being passed to the next generation…Isn’t that what teaching is all about?

Then IT happened — every teacher’s nightmare — the AV equipment failed. In my previous years’ teaching it was a well known fact that I couldn’t thread a movie projector and if the students knew I was planning to show a film they just instantly developed an attitude that said ‘yeah, right.’

I had to wing it with my own verbal rendition of what I remembered of the DVD. The students laughed when the sound of the DVD did come on in the midst of my speaking and the screen behind me came to life and I was only momentarily stunned.

Less than 12 hours later we received a phone call from the first student to volunteer to chaperone a few children to a special Minnesota Orchestra holiday show…..and she had already asked her parents if it was OK. I was probably grinning from ear to ear at this news.  The message had gotten through… the beauty of our ministry and the loving relationships our neighbors invite us into was now being passed to the next generation…Isn’t that what teaching is all about?

Once a teacher, always a teacher!

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If you are interested in tuning into the “teacher-energy” of Sr. Suzanne Homeyer, consider joining us at St. Lawrence Catholic Church and Newman Center on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 7:30pm for Theology on Tap.
Address: 1203 5 Street SE (Click for link to map)
Minneapolis, MN  55414

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For more information on how you could accompany a northside family to the MN Orchestra or Children’s Theater, call Sr. Suzanne at 612-521-6113