Teachers are members of a vitally important profession. They teach the future leaders of our country and our world. They teach essential skills and concepts; nurture curiosity and a sense of wonder; cultivate abilities and interests and give their students a sense of identity and purpose. In the context of a Catholic school, however, the work of a teacher takes on a new dimension.
Teaching in a Catholic school is often referred to as a vocation – a calling to become part of something of great significance; in this case, to share in the Church’s mission. In their own way, teachers in Catholic schools share in the work of Jesus to reach out to others and spread the good news about life and its purpose.
As part of our coverage of Catholic Schools Week, we reached out to Kerry Munoz, second grade teacher at St. Anthony Catholic School in Lakeland to find out why she teaches at a Catholic school. This Q and A will provide insight into how Catholic teachers live out their faith in the classroom and how their rewards are immeasurable.
Please share a little background about yourself?
I’m originally from Plymouth, Indiana and moved to Florida in 2008 when my husband transferred with his job. I graduated with my Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education from Ancilla College and with my Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from St. Mary-of-the-Woods.
What inspired or motivated you to become a teacher at a Catholic school?
I have taught at St. Anthony Catholic School for 6 years now. What inspired me are my two daughters. They went to a Catholic school in Indiana and I always believed that if I ever received a teaching license, I would teach at a Catholic School. I am able to share my love of teaching with my students while always instilling a love for God and the Catholic faith.
Throughout your time as a teacher, what rewarding moments have captivated you to think/say: “This is why I teach at a Catholic School!”
Last year, I had a student in my class who had never been baptized, but told me on numerous occasions that she wanted to be. By the end of the school year, I stood with this little girl while she was baptized in front of the entire school. I was so proud of her and the faith that she had developed while at our school. It was truly a moment I will never forget and it often reminds me of why I teach at a Catholic School.
Many teachers make sacrifices to work at a Catholic school. Have you made sacrifices during your 6 years of teaching?
It’s a sacrifice financially to teach at a Catholic school, but what I don’t make financially I make spiritually. We are all asked to make sacrifices in our lives and choosing to work at a Catholic school has always been a priority of mine because the rewards definitely outweigh the sacrifices.
How has being a teacher strengthened your own faith?
Teaching the students about the Catholic Faith has strengthened my knowledge and relationship with God. I am able to practice and live my faith daily through prayer and by example.