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Wednesday
Feb012012

Profile of an Educator

Overview

This profile of a Loyola teacher does not attempt to delineate all the possibilities of teacher
commitment; it does intend to focus on those essential attitudes that all faculty members are expected to possess.

The use of this profile is twofold; First of all, it is a means of informing prospective teachers
about the unique kind of educational environment they are seeking to join. Secondly, it can be viewed as a standard against which present personnel, in concert with the school administration, may evaluate their performance at Loyola with a view toward professional growth.

No one expects that every or even any teacher, present or future, will be perfectly described in this profile; this is naive and unimportant. Furthermore, it is even dangerous, since to expect perfection might activate an unnecessary and unwarranted act of confidence.

What is important is to emphasize that the profile reflects a level of professional aspiration--what we should be on our way to becoming. It is a basis for human encounter with a minimum of threat and defensiveness, an approach which lends itself to honest reflection and creative discussion, an approach that emphasizes respect of the individual and centers on total growth: personal, professional, and institutional.

Introduction

Excellence is the hallmark of education at Loyola. The teacher at Loyola is encouraged to strive for excellence and to urge his/her students to do the same. For a teacher at Loyola, excellence is defined simply as service in love, a service that contains more than an academic dimension, for it includes sincere involvement with students as well as a commitment to the school's spiritual mission.

As Christians we believe that each person has been given gifts by the Lord, gifts which each is to use for the benefit of others. As Saint Paul says:

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them.
There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different
abilities to perform service, but the same God gives the ability to everyone for their
particular service. The Spirit's presence is shown in some way in each person for
the good of all. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)

In short, our gifts are to be used for others. This is what Christian service is all about. It is in
this sense that teaching at Loyola High School is a form of service.

The Loyola teacher serves the Loyola community by being an example of striving for excellence in using his/her gifts in the best way possible. The Loyola teacher strives for excellence by creating through the educational process an atmosphere of hope, service, love of Christ, freedom for self-discovery, respect for pluralism in races, religion, nations, and economic status of every member of the Loyola community.

The Loyola teacher focuses his/her service and striving for excellence in three specific areas: academics, involvement with students outside the classroom, and involvement with and commitment to the spiritual mission of the school.

Academics

Loyola is a Catholic college preparatory school. A basic expectation of the Loyola teacher is that he/she recognizes and subscribes to Loyola's academic philosophy. Loyola offers a rigorous and demanding program based on Christian principles. It is in this context that the Loyola teacher uses his/her gifts to strive for excellence in the area of academics.

Teachers communicate most directly with students in the classroom. The role of the teacher as educator is best served when an adult example provides an academic environment in which intellectual growth may occur for the individual student.

In order to achieve this goal, Loyola faculty members must genuinely care for and display a
concern for their students as individuals. The learning process best functions in this teacher
fostered atmosphere of love and concern.

Creating an atmosphere of concern and love requires a high degree of professionalism, which involves both a competence and a style that are indicative of Loyola. First of all, competence means that a teacher is knowledgeable in his/her field and takes advantage of opportunities to grow through reading, taking courses, making use of workshops and conventions, and especially, through discussion and observation of the knowledge and experience of colleagues.

Secondly, competence shows itself in preparation and organization in the classroom.
Competence, therefore, means updating and revising lesson plans and planning productive and fair projects that take care to see that each student individually and, hopefully, successfully bcomes to terms with the subject matter of the course.
A second set of expectations concerning professionalism falls under the heading of style. First, the Loyola teacher is characterized by enthusiasm. Very simply, the teacher should actively strive to communicate through his/her own attitudes and behavior that he/she values learning and the content of the material being taught.

Moreover, the style of a professional must include the ability to work with and for those in a
position of authority, fulfilling conscientiously and punctually the duties and requirements given by administrators and chairpersons. Also, professionalism requires an attitude for all members of the community which is not scornful or demeaning but positively supportive of the efforts of those with whom one works.

The good Loyola teacher is an individual. Keeping in mind the final goal for which the
community is striving, the teacher should look for ways to communicate, teach, and test which are compatible with his/her distinct personalities. A teacher is therefore, striving for excellence when he/she works to educate the students in a way which works best for him/her and which accomplishes departmental goals of the community. Striving for excellence also means growing and learning with the students, being an active part of the learning experience that is taking place. Being creative in this context means seeking the best methods of those available to pursue and to improve instruction.

A final and most important characteristic of the Loyola teacher is that he/she is expected to strive for good rapport with the students and their parents. Teachers should be willing to put
themselves at the service of the student and his parents, recognizing that the parents too are primary agents, if not the primary agents, in the education of the student.

The above characteristics are presented as general guidelines. Each person has different gifts and abilities; therefore, each teacher is encouraged to develop his/her own gifts land abilities. In this way, each makes the best contribution that he/she can offer to the development and growth of the school's academic mission.

Involvement Outside the Classroom

The Loyola teacher should attempt to serve the interests and needs of the students. A teacher is expected to consider his/her own strengths, talents, and capabilities and apply them to the area of co-curricular activities in a way that will best meet the needs of the whole Loyola community. In short, excellence in the area of co-curricular activities is achieved when each teacher gives the best he/she can for the good of the community while always keeping that commitment in proportion to his/her particular circumstances.

The teacher serves in the best way possible in the areas of co-curricular activities when he/she takes the time to be an observer of the community and to communicate with its members, both students and fellow faculty. It is necessary to observe the community to discover its needs and essential to communicate with students and colleagues about the needs of the community. In this way each teacher is better able to decide how his/her talents can best be used to meet the perceived needs of the community through coaching, forming a new club, taking on an existing club, or aiding the administration of the school. Observation and communication also help each teacher to sort out the real needs of the community from what he/she might think are the real needs of the community.

Specifically, teachers serve in the area of co-curriculars by advising, counseling, coaching,
moderating, chaperoning, proctoring, and spending quality time with colleagues and students, thereby assisting all members of the Loyola community to strive for excellence.
In addition to teachers serving in the area of co-curriculars, faculty members can be of great
service to the community in two additional ways. First, great service is provided by those who serve on boards, committees and panels which are established to facilitate school functions or to act as liaison among administration, student and faculty groups. Second, faculty members are of service to the school by being of service to one another. This implies being supportive and spending time getting to know colleagues in a genuine and human sense. Support of colleagues must be recognized as an essential element in the development of any community, especially one which strives for excellence and one in which there are many recognizable pressures placed upon the individual.

Commitment to the School's Spiritual Philosophy and Mission

Loyola is a Catholic school, and therefore, must proclaim a specific form of Christian
spirituality; however, the community is well aware of the presence of other creeds in the
community and considers the respect and acceptance of the beliefs of others a central part of a Loyola education. In terms of faculty, acceptance of the beliefs of others is based on the assumption that each faculty member has a "SPIRITUALITY" whether it be of the Jesuit or religious teacher, of the Catholic layperson, or of the non-Catholic teacher. It is presumed each faculty member has something to give in this area, a unique relationship with God that is his or her own.

Loyola is committed to developing mature and Christian young men among its students. The Christian is the one who follows Jesus; who, like Jesus, gives the best of him/herself to build up the community, characterized in love. Jesus is the one who typifies that attitude of service in Love. He gave himself to others because he cared for them. He gave himself to others so that others might have life and have it more abundantly. Today this means that the Christian must have a concern for social justice. The Christian is challenged to view the world as the human community. The Christian is challenged today to commit him/herself to help build a world in which all people might "have life and have it more abundantly."

It is this form of service that is expected of the Loyola teacher. The Loyola teacher is expected to give him/herself to the community so that all might live fully. This means two things. First of all, it means being a model of loving service for the student and using one's gifts for the good of the Loyola community. Secondly, it means helping the student to develop a sense of responsibility and a vision of what it means to be a follower of Jesus in the world today--a vision of a just world and a grasp of how that vision grows out of Christian values.

Each teacher is encouraged to realize that he/she has a contribution to make to the growth, life and development of the whole Loyola community. The service of each can bring life to others so that eventually, each member of the community is filled with the Lord's gift of life and prepared to help bring that gift to others.

Following from this, there are three expectations that Loyola has for faculty members in the area of spiritual activities. It is, first of all, expected that each faculty member will be supportive of the explicitly spiritual direction of the school. This support may be expressed in various ways, specifically, by encouraging students and colleagues to participate in the spiritual activities of the school.

Secondly, teachers are encouraged to become part of the explicitly spiritual programs of the school: to assist in retreats, the planning of liturgies, the sacramental activities, the Christian Service Program. Each teacher's unique relationship with God, if offered to the school community, is a contribution to the spiritual growth of the whole community.
Lastly, each teacher is encouraged, if he or she chooses, to take steps to develop his/her own spirituality. Several opportunities are available for this at Loyola including the faculty retreats, the adult education program, sharing the Eucharist with fellow faculty members, and developing an active interest in the spiritual direction of the school through reading and discussion.

Conclusion

In the document published in September, 1980, titled "Our Secondary Schools: Today and
Tomorrow," Fr. Pedro Arrupe, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, states that the goal of Jesuit secondary education is to form "new persons", individuals who " ... should have acquired, in ways proportional to their age and maturity, a way of life that is in itself a proclamation of the charity of Christ, of the faith that comes from Him and leads back to Him, and of the justice which He announced". Loyola High School, a Jesuit secondary school, subscribes to this goal.

The achievement of this purpose is facilitated primarily through the environment that is created at Loyola High. Fr. Arrupe states, "These things will thrive only in an atmosphere in which we learn how to be available, how to be of service to others". The three areas discussed above, academics, involvement outside the classroom, and commitment to the school's spiritual mission, are areas in which faculty are expected to help provide the environment in which Loyola students can become new persons.

Faculty members help to provide this environment by being available and being of service to
their students and to one another. This implies that faculty members themselves are striving to become the new persons of whom Fr. Arrupe speaks.

The key word, of course, is striving. As was stated in the Preamble of this Profile, "...the profile reflects a level of professional aspiration...what we should be on our way to becoming. It is ...an approach that emphasizes respect for the individual and centers on total growth: personal, professional, and institutional."



 

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