Lasallian Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher–ZEAL

(Reflections by Four Seniors on Teachers who epitomize the Virtue of Zeal–completed for Ms. Naughton’s Senior Religion Class)

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Ms. _____ is my English teacher last year and this year. She is my spirit animal to say the least because I think I will be just like her when I get older. She has the Virtue of Zeal and she makes that evident every day that I have had her class. She starts off every class by yelling, “Good morning ladies and gentlemen! It’s a pleasure to see you today!” if only to wake up all those students who were planning on falling asleep in her class. I have to say that I cannot think of one class where I was completely bored. She teaches material that can be very dry at sometimes with zeal and makes it so that all of her students are involved with discussing and analyzing the stories or material. At times she will act out what is happening in a Shakespearean play so that the class can have a better understanding of what was going on. She has more than once sparked my interest in the books and stories that she makes my class read because her passion for the literature is so contagious. I have to say she is probably at the top of my list of teachers who have the virtue of Zeal.

Mr. _____ (my 9th Grade English teacher) is extremely representative of the virtue of zeal. Freshman year, Mr. _____ underscored the importance of creative writing, and he made it clear throughout the year when we had to do numerous creative writing assignments in his class – these ranged from creating our very own Frankenstein monster, to rewriting a chapter of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, to writing our own haiku’s. Each day that assignments like those were due, Mr. _____ would praise each and everyone of us for our writings, and he’d tell us what he liked about each one. It was this kind of attitude that sparked my interest in writing, and it eventually led me to today, when I can say I am proudly going to college next year with a major in Television WRITING.

Mrs. _____ is one of the most dedicated people who I know. Mrs. _____is dedicated to her students, the theater, and her family. She treats her students as if they were her own children, and though she often wants to yell at us, she never does. Mrs. _____ possesses zeal in her teaching because on late nights during the shows, she makes the sacrifice to be there late away from her baby. She stays with us miserable kids up in the booth so that she can make sure that everyone performing looks good on stage. She also makes the sacrifice to come in the mornings for WLSA meetings, and she sits with me and critiques my work. On my music video, which was the hardest thing I had ever directed, shot, or edited, and frankly I thought it to be garbage, Mrs._____ heard me say all this for months. I wouldn’t let her watch it; I thought it was so bad. She did and told me that it was great; she went through and told me everything that was good about it and would not acknowledge any of the bad I saw in it. Mrs. _____ is committed to having her students succeed, and makes sure of that despite our worst work.  She finds the good in all that we do.

Lastly, I realized the virtue of zeal is extremely present in Mr. _____ and his teaching methods. In the video it states that the definition of zeal is ‘a strong feeling of interest or enthusiasm that makes one eager or determined to do something.’ Although physics is most certainly my weakest subject, Mr. _____ does his absolute best to include everyone in such an enthusiastic manner. He knows that I struggle with the material, so he does many interactive activities to truly help me understand the physics concepts that he teaches. His classroom is so vibrant and full of laughter that it makes me truly want to participate and show him that I really am trying. His is one of the most animated teachers I have and if anyone were to walk into his classroom they could see that and feel the “electricity” that runs through him and his students. I know for a fact that without his teaching methods and enthusiasm to teach, I would’ve lost interest and the drive due to the fact that I struggle immensely with physics. Instead, he fills the classroom with laughter and smiles and makes sure that we want to learn even though it may not be the easiest thing. I appreciate him for the effort he puts in, therefore I put in as much effort as possible.


In 1706, John Baptist de La Salle, patron saint of teachers, listed twelve virtues of a good teacher in his Conduct of the Christian Schools. In 1785, Brother Agathon, the fifth superior general of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, reissued the list in a much longer letter titled The Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher. His letter was widely distributed for many years, and even up until the 1930s, a number of Catholic colleges used it as a text in education classes.   (Saint Mary’s Press)

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