As a CMM Brother-teacher, but also as a teacher in general, you teach your students in your specific field: mathematics, geography, and so on. However, education is certainly not only about teaching in your own subject, it is also about guiding your pupils through life.
Good, better, best?
In addition to teaching and guiding, in many schools there is also an element of competition. Students try to be “the best student”, and also schools strive to be acknowledged as “a good school” or even “the best school”. To become the best school, the students in such school should be excellent students. Students are compelled to graduate with good grades so that the school itself gets a good prestige. The schools tend to avoid having weak students, because they might cause reduction of the school’s accreditation.
How about weakness?
In this situation the weak students can become a victim of this competitive element. Teachers will mainly pay attention to the good students, and ignore the weaker students. A student that does not perform very well might lose his or her confidence in learning abilities and drop out. And sometimes a weak student is even removed by the school, for reasons that are not always clear or true.
This may not be a reality in brothers’ schools, but it is certainly a point of attention. As brother-teachers it is our duty and also our spirit to look after these weaker students who need our guidance so much.
To teach as a brother
Teaching as a brother has a different characteristic, because we do not only pursue the prestige of our school. What we want to achieve is that each student, smart or weak, feels at home in our schools, and that each student can grow and develop in his or her own way.
Vincent de Paul
As our patron saint Vincent de Paul said: “Poor people are our masters”. Poverty does not necessarily refer to the lack of material goods; it can also refer to having fewer intellectual capacities, lack of confidence, or growing up in an environment that does not allow a student to do his homework well.
Our Lady Mother of Mercy
Weak students are not garbage to be thrown away. As a brother who chooses the spirituality of brotherhood and mercy, we should embrace them as our brothers and sisters. We can do that by patiently educating them and teach them with love, not with compulsion. Let us be brothers who are truly Brothers of Our Lady Mother of Mercy.
Brother Peter Narwadan CMM (Timor Leste)