This is a follow-up article to one I wrote this summer: 7 Signs that You are a Catholic Weirdo
Like its predecessor, this also is not an exhaustive list. There are probably way more weird Catholic things I do to survive in my profession as a public school teacher than I even realize. So this one, despite all attempts at making it a tongue-in-cheek, poking fun at myself type of blog post, might be more aptly titled “Spiritual Survival Tips for the Public School Classroom”.
1.You have assigned each of your classes a patron saint
This year I find myself silently asking Saint Patrick to pray for me often during my morning class. Now there’s a guy who had to deal with a pack of illiterate hooligans with a questionable grasp of morality. If he can Christianize a whole island of people like that, or at least get the ball rolling, then you can survive a year with your literate hooligans who shout, “parkour!” then jump on your desk, wrinkling all the standardized tests.
For my homeroom class, I often ask help from Venerable Fulton Sheen, because they are allegedly the smart ones. If you don’t know who that is, read anything he has ever written. It will knock your socks off!
St. Dymphnia comes up a lot too, especially this year. She is patron of mental disorders.
2. You have prayed a rosary for your students while proctoring a standardized test.
..or even made one out of school supplies. See here for extrapolation on that topic.
3. Your class roster is usually involved in an examination of conscience.
We all have our own methods of examining our conscience before going to confession. Some have booklets that help them thoroughly consider their sins. Sometimes bringing a class roster along helps me really dredge up sins I may have forgotten, since so many of my anger-related sins begin with names on that roster.
4. You have blessed student desks or other parts of your classroom with holy water before school.
..then sat back and wondered in horror if anyone might develop a burning rash. My intention is less selfish than it sounds. Of course I want them to behave, but I do this mostly while praying for their eternal souls. I wish I had a little holy water font in my room for when I need it, but I’m not actively trying to lose my job through my weirdness. I have considered that an entire printer the kids don’t know about is hidden beneath my desk and that might be a good place to stick a little wall font. I don’t want anything to interfere with technology that ACTUALLY works in this classroom. Holy or otherwise, water and electricity are not good desk-fellows.
5. When you make this face, it doesn’t mean what kids think it means.
Kids think it means, I’m going to kill you with my eyes. It really means I have shut off, shut you out and am saying this:
“Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.”
My embattled self has a slight Irish lilt that cannot be explained, so it is better if I am staring you down with a Samuel L. Jackson face than if I open my mouth to speak. If my face stays that way I have said this prayer and am ready for battle. If my face becomes serene, I might have actually gone with this one instead, thanks St. Francis!:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
6. Your favorite writers watch over you while you type emails.
..which end up sounding nothing like Chesterton or Sheen, but it at least gives you a moment’s pause.
7. You NEED Christ’s Divine Mercy in the 3’oclock hour
Teachers know that the last hour of a school day is when all the worst things will happen. On my school’s schedule, this is the last hour of the day. It is believed that Christ died in 3’oclock hour and the Divine Mercy devotion involves asking Him to pour forth a font of mercy for us. At work, praying the full chaplet might not be possible or reasonable, but you can certainly blurt out the most repeated part of the prayer silently in your skull about a million times before the school day ends:
“For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
This may all seem a bit much to you, kindly reader. If that is the conclusion at which you have arrived, then I leave you with this. Pray for the teachers in this country. We need it.