To celebrate National Catholic Schools Week, we are sharing four reflections centered around the themes of "Learn, Serve, Lead, and Succeed." Today's reflection on "Succeed" comes from Stacie Rego, a Trustey Family STEM Teaching Fellow from St. Edward the Confessor Parish School in Dana Point, CA.
On this day of Catholic Schools Week, we reflect on our call to succeed. As educators, we are asked to analyze and reflect on data, scores, and formative assessments to gauge lesson success. However, our true success cannot be measured simply by a test. Rather, success is reflected in the courageous and selfless actions, choices, and faith of the students that we serve.
In our time with students, we’ve found that students’ choices and actions that have moved us to define success in new ways. These two examples have shown us that ultimately, our success is reflected in the learners we share our lives with each and every day.
Our students have the courage to see Jesus in others and be Jesus to others. Last week, a student reminded us that our vocations call us to more than academic success. While walking down the hall, we came across a student sitting along the wall in tears. He had forgotten his homework and was heartbroken by his mistake. Before reaching the student, another boy gently leaned down and comforted him with soft and calm words. He explained, “It’s ok. We all make mistakes. It hurts right now, but it will get better.” The tears began to wane, and a smile appeared. As educators, this moment reflected success in our mission to help our learners develop into faith-filled servants of Christ. A young boy was able to look outside of himself and see Jesus in another while still having the courage to be Jesus to someone in need.
Our greatest success is reflected in the confidence to take risks amidst the struggles and challenges. As Catholic educators, we seek to support and serve students from all backgrounds and ability. With this mission comes times of struggle, hardship, and difficulty. As we mentor and support our students through scaffolding, targeted strategies, and data-driven methods, we also seek to support their emotional wellbeing and confidence to take the first steps down a difficult path.
We are reminded of these courageous first steps with a student who began believing in himself through tough and timely trials. When completing assessments or assignments in the past, our student showed anxiety and fear when the time to complete drew near. Afraid that his choices were incorrect and afraid to take new risks, he would draw out assignments until unfinished work became unmanageable. With the support of teachers and his family, he began to trust in himself, knowing that each setback was an opportunity to grow and learn. In his most recent assignment, he confidently answered each question without hesitation, trusting that his preparation and knowledge would carry him through. He relied on himself, knowing that his teachers stood steadfastly at his side to guide him in his pursuit. Seeing the beaming face of a confident child courageous enough to take new risks reflects the success that we seek and savor as Catholic educators.
During Catholic Schools Week, our hope is that we continue to support and cherish the success we experience through the children that we serve. For our success is not one that can be measured by numbers, but rather, reflected in the faces of the children with whom we are blessed to share our calling.
Interested in improving your school's STEM instruction? Visit stemeducation.nd.edu/trustey and submit your application to the Trustey Family STEM Teaching Fellows before March 1!