These three books will feed you as a teacher and inspire you to keep facing the difficult challenges you face.
To Heal, Proclaim, and Teach: The Essential Guide to Ministry in Today’s Catholic Church
Jared Dees learned a valuable lesson from his students: Teaching is not the same as evangelization.
The popular author, catechist, and creator of The Religion Teacher website found instead—as in Jesus’ own ministry—if you focus first on healing the wounded, then proclaiming the Word of God, and finally teaching, you can bring people of all ages to Christ. Using examples from his own teaching, stories from the Bible, and the lives of the saints, Dees offers a fresh and engaging approach and practical ideas for following the ministry of Jesus in Catholic classrooms, youth, college, and young adult ministry, and adult faith formation programs.
Dees, author of 31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator, offers practical examples of how to apply Jesus’ threefold ministry to everyday life and all levels of parish ministry: Allow yourself to be constantly evangelized; learn to help others through both good and bad times; and root yourself in community. He also suggests examples of ministries that are effectively reaching the faithful of all ages today, including Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Life Teen, Teens Encounter Christ, Theology on Tap, FOCUS, and Christ Renews His Parish.
Room 24: Adventures of a New Evangelist
Catholic high school teacher Katie Prejean has great stories to tell from her young career—like the one about the time a student filled out a Christian Mingle dating profile for her. Or when a fellow teacher told her not to smile in class until midterms. And then there are the fashion critiques by her students.
Prejean’s witty and candid stories are at the heart of Room 24: Adventures of a New Evangelist. Room 24 is not an autobiography; it’s about how hormonal, sometimes grumpy, and often confused students taught her how to evangelize. Anyone who works with youth in the Church today will be inspired by Prejean’s stories—and the 10 lessons she offers.
Her students helped her learn that teaching them about Jesus and his Church is not as important as knowing them, loving them, and inviting them to know and love Jesus as a personal friend and savior.
Her frequent mistakes and occasional successes with her students taught Prejean how to evangelize young people by building relationships in joyful, humble, and prayerful ways. Likewise, Prejean determined that the power of inviting conversation, welcoming questions, and witnessing to faith through personal stories engages students and helps them fall in love with Jesus.
Called to Teach: Daily Inspiration for Teachers
Catholic school teachers have a special vocation to reach the hearts and minds of young people, even in the midst of never-ending lesson planning, grading papers, and trying to lead a balanced life. Called to Teach, a book of 366 short, thought-provoking reflections, can help teachers stay focused on their Christ-centered mission by providing a source of energy, renewal, and affirmation for their day.
Justin McClain is a theology and Spanish teacher at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Maryland. His collection of one-minute daily reflections offers a prayerful opportunity to recapture the joyous expectation Christ has in mind for Catholic school teachers. Each day begins with a Scripture passage that sets a theme and provides much-needed encouragement to remind teachers of the daily gifts present in a Catholic school
McClain helps Catholic school teachers take a fresh look at everyday benchmarks of success in lesson planning, classroom prayer, and dealing with difficult theological questions. He also addresses the teacher’s needs outside the classroom—relaxation and a good night’s sleep, healthy eating habits, continuing education, and more time for prayer.