Teaching, the Vocation of a Lifetime

Everyone can agree on the importance of education. Teachers impact many lives during their careers and can influence children who will make a big difference in society. Recognizing talented teachers for their hard work and dedication is important. Two teachers from Resurrection Catholic School in Lakeland were recipients of the Teacher of the Year Award.

Mrs. Lisa Schaal, middle school science teacher, was awarded this honor in 2016. Outside of teaching, Mrs. Schaal enjoys being around family, sports, cooking, and playing card games.

Elementary school teacher, Miss Jennifer Jones, received her recognition in 2014. Miss Jones enjoys hanging out with family, visiting Disney, and reading. Both were very grateful and humbled by the special recognition from their peers and felt proud to represent such a talented group of educators.

When asked if God had influenced their decision to be a teacher, Mrs. Schaal said it had. She said it is important to instill that living the Beatitudes are the heart of Jesus’ teachings. “Being a Catholic teacher gives me a chance every day to showcase my love of Jesus by trying to do my best and set the example,” Schaal added. “It is important that our students hear us talk about our faith so that they will be comfortable in doing that as well.”

Miss Jones had always wanted to be a teacher, but felt a calling during college when a volunteer was needed to teach at a small school in New Mexico as a Catholic mission opportunity. She never looked back, “God continues to tug on my heartstrings and remind me of why I am here,” said Miss Jones. “It’s a hard feeling to put into words, but when you are doing the work that God has called you to do, you just know it with your entire being. That doesn’t make it easy to live out your faith, but it brings a peace to your life.”

Both women were very passionate about increasing interest in a teaching career. “Teachers are professionals and need to be proud of their career path and recognize it is a profession that ignites all other professions,” Mrs. Schaal stated. “Universities need to continue to offer rigorous programs and entice both females and males to major in education.”

This thought was reinforced by Miss Jones who added, “Learning never stops; students need to see their educators as role models and positive leaders.”

Both Teachers of the Year see the biggest challenge they face is helping children develop a love for learning and to see the importance of this gift of education. Teachers want each child to know that they can succeed and achieve their goals.

Schaal and Jones are both excited about the future of education. Miss Jones commented, “I love where education is going with the focus on the individual and determining what makes each student special and how best to help each succeed.” Mrs. Schaal agreed saying, “We are moving in the direction of teaching students to challenge themselves and to problem solve. We are allowing for more collaboration and getting students to set goals for their own learning.”

The profession of teaching has changed with technology allowing the sharing of ideas. Asking questions of other teachers and using these valuable resources offer new approaches that could benefit the students. Mrs. Schaal summed it up this way: “Don’t settle for easy or mediocrity. The ultimate goal is to create students who have perseverance and respect for everyone.”

As for advice to new teachers entering the profession, Mrs. Schaal and Miss Jones expressed that teaching can be very challenging and the hours required are much more than many realize, but the rewards make it all worth it. Making a difference in a child’s life is a thing to cherish.

Article written by Samantha L, a 7th grader at Resurrection Catholic School, Lakeland.