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Center for Catholic Education at UD

Living the Adventure: A Reflection with Lalanne Teachers

By Elena Niese

A life with Christ, the call to holiness, is surely a daily adventure. And, nowhere does this sentiment ring more true than in the life of a teacher. From navigating the uncertain waters of online learning amidst the pandemic and listening with the ear of the heart when a student shares their story, to wiping a first grader’s runny nose and letting out a long laugh when experiencing the joy of learning-- teaching is truly one messy, beautiful adventure. Just as Jesus kneeled to wash the feet of His disciples, so, too, does a teacher manifest the person of Christ in each small act of presence and service, even the most simple and mundane.

As a senior teacher education student myself, I have begun to see this adventure unfold in my field internship this semester. Yet, I turned to the Center’s full-time Lalanne teachers to gain even deeper insight into what it means to live the adventure amidst the everyday ordinary of teaching.

Anna Babiak, a high school science teacher, lives the call to holiness by “remembering each student is unique.” She continues, “They all have their own struggles and joys; I get to see them for 45 minutes each day, so I try to make that time special.” Recognizing the inherent dignity that belongs to each student as a son or daughter of God: that’s holiness.

Another high school teacher, Dani Ostendorf, manifests Christ to her students by serving with Campus Ministry in addition to teaching math. By serving as a Eucharistic minister for all school masses, attending prayer services before school with fellow faculty, and providing opportunities for prayer at the beginning of every class, Dani “offer[s] [her] time and energy” to something beyond herself. Serving the Church through a gift of selfless service: that’s holiness.

One Lalanne teacher serving middle school students likens this gift of self to the call to sainthood. This teacher states, “One of the biggest parts of this adventure is showing students how to live a life that leads to Sainthood. We were able to complete Saint Reports where the students were able to see how they can live as a Saint in their everyday life because we are all called to be saints.” Encouraging every student to fulfill their God-given potential for sainthood: that’s holiness, too. 

Yet, holiness is not simply reserved for teachers at the secondary level. Karly Marth, an elementary educator, discusses how she helps her students grow in faith by reminding them to “stop and pray when [they] need it.” She continues, “Things do not always go as planned in first grade, so sometimes we just stop and pray to help us get back on track. I’ve really enjoyed sharing my faith with the students each day in this way.” Stopping for a moment of rest amidst the chaos: that’s holiness.    

Another Lalanne teacher who teaches elementary students noted how holiness is not just something taught to students, but something that students teach to teachers, too! This teacher named this phenomenon stating, “They [my students] spur me on in my own faith journey, showing me what true child-like faith is.” Allowing the youngest of minds to stir the heart to deep reflection: that’s holiness, too.

In the end, all teachers are merely lifelong students. And, aren’t we all? There is always room to grow in holiness, to enter more deeply into the adventure of a life with Christ, in our pilgrimage towards eternity. May we be open to the voice of Christ working amidst our lives and in the lives of our students as we pray A Teacher’s Prayer from the Marianist Prayers for Marian Feast Days and Marianist Days:


Lord, let me be just what my students need.

If they need someone to trust, let me be trustworthy.

If they need sympathy, let me be sympathetic.

If they need love, let me love in full measure.

Let me not anger easily, Lord but let me be just.

Permit my justice to be tempered in your mercy.

When I stand before them, Lord, let me look strong and good

and honest and loving.

Help me to counsel the anxious, crack the covering of the shy,

temper the rambunctious with a gentle attitude.

Permit me to teach only the truth.

Help me to inspire them so that learning will not cease

at the classroom door.

Let the lessons they learn make their lives fruitful and happy.

And, Lord, let me bring them to You.

Teach them through me to love you.

Permit me to learn the lessons they teach. Amen.


Edited by Ava Gravino.

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