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A Grateful Heart Matters - In the Classroom and Beyond

Thursday, November 07, 2019 by The Program for Inclusive Education

Program for Inclusive Education at the University of Notre Dame

We are called to welcome, serve, and celebrate every student.

That is our motto at the Program for Inclusive Education, and the goal to which every inclusive educator aspires. Moreover, we pray that all Catholic schools will embrace this mission by opening their doors to those academically on the margins and by supporting students so their God-given potential shines. Being grateful for what we have is the key to truly giving. PIE is grateful for what you have–your heart of inclusion!

As we move into November, a month book-ended by All Saints Day and Thanksgiving, what better time to reflect on our mission as educators? We rejoice in the many blessings that flow every day in our classrooms, even though we often get frustrated by the obstacles that disrupt those blessings. As Catholic educators, however, we have special support when we embrace the challenges that come with teaching. With each challenge, we can turn to the saints and be uplifted and inspired by their hearts of gratitude.

In thanksgiving for all you do as an inclusive educator, PIE offers you this prayer inspired by the saints:

Our Heavenly Father,

When I am feeling overwhelmed at the idea of learning new ways to teach, in order that I may open my heart and mind to reach students of all abilities, help me to be thankful. Thankful for the gifts I have to share, for my fellow teachers and the gifts they possess, and most importantly for the great gift of the children, chosen by You to be placed in my care. Help me to realize the gift we are to one another.

“Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve You as You deserve.” – St. Ignatius of Loyola

When I am tired and think I am not making a difference, help me to remember that the heart of our mission is to educate all students regardless of need. In doing so, we imitate Christ the teacher by reaching out to the margins of the classroom and cultivating Christ’s love, acceptance, and knowledge every day. Lord, help me to do this, not just because I should, but because I want to do Your will.

“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.” - St. Gianna Beretta Molla

When I run into obstacles, despite my best intentions and careful planning, keep me from frustration and despair. Jesus, you tell us in Luke 9:23, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” That is often so much easier said than done, but grant me a grateful heart to lessen the weight of those crosses.

“The best way to show my gratitude is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta

If I make a mistake, Lord help me to step back and realize that I can try again. Help me show mercy as I receive it from You and let me remember the reasons I chose to be a teacher. Grant me the grace to surrender to You and to always remember that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13)

“Remember the past with gratitude. Live the present with enthusiasm. Look forward to the future with confidence.” – St. Pope John Paul II

When new challenges arise and I’m not sure how best to approach them, let me remember PIE is here for me, with access to a community and resources that transform me both as a teacher and disciple.  

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them—every day begin the task anew.” -  St. Francis de Sales

When the challenges still seem insurmountable, as they sometimes do, grant me a spirit of adaptability while remaining firm in purpose. Inclusion is a good thing and all good things take time. With Your help, I will address this purpose one step at a time.

“You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.” - St. Augustine

Lord, continue to bless the things I must do so that ALL to whom you have entrusted with me will also be blessed and know what it is to be truly included.

In Your Name, we pray.

Amen.

The Program for Inclusive Education joins you in this prayer. We often grow impatient, for there is much good work to be done! At times, it gets difficult. But we can do hard things!

PIE is so grateful for all you do to welcome, serve, and celebrate the students that enter your doors. Let us forge ahead together with grateful hearts to advance the mission of inclusive education!


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