The Catholic Teachers’ Guild is a lay association in the archdiocese that aims to strengthen teachers’ vocations through formation events, study groups, lectures and mutual fraternal support. As the new school year kicks off, President Andrew Hume reflects on the work of the guild and the important vocation of teaching.
1. How is the Catholic Teachers’ Guild different from the various unions that represent teachers in Ontario?
The Catholic Teacher’s Guild is different from the various teacher unions in two ways. First and foremost, our mandate states we are non-partisan. We are not directly involved in politics or labour-negotiations. Instead, we provide fellowship for Catholic educators. Secondly, we differ in terms of who our membership is extended to. In addition to having members from publicly-funded Catholic School Boards, we also have members from private-Catholic schools, post-secondary institutions, homeschool educators, retired teachers, and Catholic Educators who work in the public (non-Catholic) school system.
2. The guild aims to strengthen the vocation of teachers. How do you live that dimension of your work?
The statement “teaching is a vocation” means that it is not merely a job I perform while I am at school. Rather, it is part of my identity and is integral to how I live out my Christian faith. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians, “And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers…” God calls all members of the Church to live out their faith in unique ways. For some, like myself, that calling is lived out guiding and forming young people and passing along to them the precepts of Christ’s teachings.
3. Is it becoming more or less difficult to be a Catholic teacher in our society? Why?
Certainly, the pandemic made it challenging when teaching had to be done online. Conveying information can be done online but conveying a sense of the person of Christ was difficult. Giving students a sense that they are loved by Christ so much that he suffered, bled and died for our recollection is harder to get across. Beyond the pandemic, the fact that our age is steeped in relativism can make pupils reluctant to accept the claim that there is one ultimate truth: Jesus Christ.
4. How does the Catholic Teachers’ Guild help its members to live out their vocations to teach?
The word “church” means community. Christ willed from the beginning that the vocations of his followers be lived out, not in isolation, but together in communion. The guild is a community specifically for Catholic educators. We provide opportunities for them to come together in fellowship. At our social events, we support each other; at our retreats, members pray together and meditate on the faith; and, at our talks, we delve deeper into the richness of our faith.
For more information about the Catholic Teachers' Guild, visit our website at https://www.torontocatholicteachersguild.com/ or contact Andrew Hume, Guild President, at firstname.lastname@example.org.