Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Secret Revealed after 40 Years

It’s back-to-school time. If the weather continues to rise into the warm and humid range, one can only imagine how elementary and high school teachers will need to stretch their creativity to keep students motivated to study and be attentive.
That challenge makes me think of our Sister Lois Wedl. While she was an assistant principal at Colegio San Antonio -- a Catholic high school in Humacao, Puerto Rico, in the early '70s, she recalls this “infusion of the Holy Spirit” when faced with a study hall full of high school students the period just before lunch. Here's how she told the story to me:

“The faculty person in charge was having a terrible time keeping any order in this 11 a.m. study hall. When I couldn’t stand it any longer, I volunteered to take it over myself. The first day I walked in with my little pocket Bible in my hand and stood in front of the study hall students. I simply told them, ‘I am really busy all day long, and I only have this hour to do my reading and meditating on the Scriptures. And you, also, are all very busy, and this is your only time to get your studying done. Let’s help each other by being really quiet during this study period.’ And then I sat down and, almost miraculously, not a student opened his or her mouth the whole time during the rest of that semester. No 'outsider' ever did figure out how I got all those noisy students to stay so quiet!”

It’s amazing what a combination of a little respect and a little creativity can do to change the entire dynamic of a situation. May the Holy Spirit pour down upon all teachers and release their creative capacities as they begin this 2010-11 school year.

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