Sunday, July 21, 2013

Are You More of a Martha or Mary in the Classroom? (Sunday Snippet)

As a both a Catholic and a newly-hired parochial elementary-level teacher, I thought it would be nice to devote my Sunday blog posts to connecting the Gospel to my classroom teaching...a post that is short and sweet that connects some aspect of education/teaching to the Gospel.

This Sunday's Gospel reading Martha and Mary  (Luke 10:38-42) lends itself nicely to making those connections.

'Martha and Mary'Nathan Greene, born 1961

(38) As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.  (39) She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.  (40) Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?  Tell her to help me."  (41)  The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many, many things.  (42) There is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

As I contemplate those words, it occurs to me that more often than not, I am Martha rather than the classroom, in my own home, in my prayer life.  I often find myself distracted by the details....worrying about tomorrow...checking items off of my to do list....rather than being present and in relationship with those I love.  

I can recall (shamefully) how a student might come to me with a problem, but all I could focus on was the fact that they were not mastering the released test indicators for the upcoming assessment.  

And how many times do my own children come to me...wanting me to hear the story they wrote...or read them a book they chose from their bookshelf...only to be rebuffed by me because I had dishes to do or a floor to mop?

'Christ in the House of Martha and Mary', Jan Vermeer van Delft, 1654

It's true that as educators we must pay attention to detail.  We are expected and held accountable to manage the details...the assessments, grades, mastery...for each child in our care.  

But it seems to me, especially as a newly hired Resource Room Specialist, that while I must definitely pay attention to details, I must also be more like Mary...

...developing deep relationships with the students on my caseload...seeing them for more than their "disability" or label...listening to what they're trying to tell me...even if they struggle to use words.

It seems as if balance is the key to being a successful Resource Room Teacher...having systems in place to manage the paperwork associated with each case that allows the time necessary to develop relationship with each child.

Who do you find yourself to be more like...Martha or Mary?


  1. This is an awesome idea for a post! I hope you will continue these over the coming weeks!
    I think I am a Martha most of the time, but only because I get annoyed when others wont be Mary's with me! If that makes any sense? I love spending quality time with people, and will do so to the expense of the housework/paperwork. But when others don't want to/can't be bothered etc, I go and get myself busy and become a Martha.

    The E-Z Class