(Reflections by Two Seniors on Teachers who epitomize the Virtue of Humility–completed for Ms. Naughton’s Senior Religion Class)
Mr._____ embodies humility to me. While at the beginning of my high school career I did not pay too much attention to the virtues of my teachers or the way they acted, I became interested in teaching styles after Mr. _____’s freshman year _____ class, I recognized that all teachers taught in different and unique ways. However, I never truly recognized the importance of humility until encountering Mr. _____. Contrary to what one might believe after their first or second encounter with Mr. _____, he is, in fact, a very modest and reserved person. While on the outside he may make a louder statement with his clothing selections than anyone in the building and his voice may carry throughout the hallway and pierce every wall on the third floor, he possesses this ability to put the proper education of his students in front of his desire to impose his beliefs upon them. While some may overlook this ability and say that it counts for less than I propose it does, I have learned over the course of my time in school, that a teacher who can put their self and their beliefs on the shelf and teach both sides equally to their students is an incredible asset to have (especially impressive when they are teaching a class that covers topics as controversial as _____ and _____). The way I understand it, teaching is more about the way that students are enabled to think, rather than their ability to carry “correct opinions” with them. In this way, in my opinion Mr. _____ possesses a level of deep humility that very few teachers I have met possess, and I have come out of his classes with a much more well-rounded view of the topics covered, and a greater openness to opposing opinions than I would have otherwise.
While learning about the third virtue, humility, I immediately thought about Mrs. _____ who is my _____ teacher this year. She is the type of teacher that always thinks of her students before herself. She is extremely flexible and is always willing to change things in order to be more accommodating and fair to her students. She does not allow us to take zeros for an assignment; instead, she just trusts us to complete it at some point within reason. Mrs. _____ always tells us interesting stories about herself so that we can possibly relate to her life. She has never once acted as if she was above us just because she is our teacher; she always makes us feel like equals. I have learned a lot from her about what is means to be a person of humility.
THE TWELVE VIRTUES OF A GOOD TEACHER
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)