WelCom August 2019:
Palmerston North’s Lecturer and Diocesan Coordinator for The Catholic Institute, Rosalie Connors, invited some TCI students involved in teaching at Catholic schools to share impressions of their TCI Religious Studies courses.
I’ve had such a fantastic experience with TCI. The lecturers are really understanding of other commitments ‒ in my case my teaching degree ‒ and readily answer any questions or concerns. My qualification is well recognised by the broader teaching community. I’ve been chosen as a leader for several Catholic leadership camps including YCL and the Passionist young leaders’ retreat and hopefully the Jesus 4 Real camp. My qualification has enabled me to gain employment as a youth minister at Sacred Heart College Napier. It is such a rewarding job and I feel equip due to the knowledge I gained throughout my TCI course. I’m keen to continue TCI studies when a graduated teacher. The paper ‘What do Catholics believe and spirituality’ sparked my faith journey down the RCIA programme. I was confirmed into the Church at Easter 2018. My relationship with God has developed and I was able to understand my faith at a much deeper level, to ask the bigger questions and have my questions answered.
My Diploma in Religious Studies has helped deepen my knowledge and faith in all areas, including the Bible, the classroom Religious Education Curriculum, Social Justice, the Church, the Sacraments. I have been able to use this in my personal and professional life.
The papers I took gave a balance in Religious Studies areas – Theology, Spirituality and RE. The Scripture papers have benefitted me in teaching Level 4 RE Curriculum with knowledge I can confidently share with my students.
I think it is important for teachers and principals to complete this kind of formation. Whilst finding time to complete the readings and tasks was difficult with our busy lives as teachers and principals, I had a supportive family, school, and tutors.
A colleague said when teaching Mathematics or English we need to understand the content before we can share it. They said RE was the same – how could we pass on an important message without the knowledge? A good understanding of and a passion for the content we are teaching, is paramount as not everyone has had this as part of their upbringing. We are part of the student, whanau, educator triangle and, with formation and knowledge, together we can pass on knowledge and faith to the next generation, while encouraging our students to be the hands and feet of Jesus.