Catholic Schools Office recruiting teachers before they are teachers

Michelle Pascal, a fourth grade teacher at Christ the King School in Wichita, talks about her vocation to those attending a gathering at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Tuesday, Jan. 7. She was a member of the Teacher Academy while in high school. (Advance photo)

The Catholic Schools Office is recruiting future teachers – years before they’re certified to teach.

Thirty high school and college students who expressed an interest in education gathered Tuesday, Jan. 7, in the Pius X Room at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita to learn more about education in a Catholic school.

Matt McKee, assistant superintendent of Catholic Schools, said the presentation, question and answer session, and luncheon was an attempt to entice future teachers to return to the diocesan Catholic school system if they pursue a teaching career.

“We had seniors in high school and seniors in college there,” he said. “We wanted them to know we care about them and that we want them to work in our schools. In fact, they’re key for our schools to be as Catholic as possible.”

Many of the students were part of the Teacher Academy, a Catholic high school program for seniors in the four diocesan high schools that allows participants to get a sense of what it’s like to be a teacher.“They work in our schools, meeting an hour a day, you go to one of our schools to experience what it’s like to be a teacher, and do your everyday duties,” McKee said.

Members of the academy also meet also gather regularly to discuss their experiences.

“When the school year is complete, they get credit for what they’ve done and they have an idea of whether or not education is the right thing for them,” McKee said.

The gathering was the first of what the Catholic Schools Office hopes is an annual event.

“It’s really exciting because we’re getting back to our foundation, we’re celebrating a little bit, and encouraging young people,” he said.

There are many other high school students who were not part of the Teacher Academy, McKee added. “Next year I hope to open it up to all of our graduates and people who are interested in working in our schools. We just want to keep getting better at recruiting and retaining our teachers. They are the key to success in our schools.”