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Profile of an Educator

2015-05-26 18.57.00

This profile of a Loyola teacher does not attempt to delineate all the possibilities of teacher commitment. It intends to focus on essential attitudes all faculty members are expected to possess.There are two uses of this Loyola teacher profile:

  1. As a means of informing prospective teachers about the unique kind of educational environment, they seek to join.
  2. As a standard by which our present teachers may evaluate their performance with a view toward professional growth.

No one expects every Loyola teacher, present or future, to be described in this profile. That would be impossible. What is important is that the profile reflects a level of professional aspiration, what we should be on our way to becoming, with a minimum of threat and defensiveness.

This is an approach that lends itself to honest reflection and creative discussion. It is an approach that emphasizes respect for the individual, and centers on total growth: personal, professional and institutional.

Introduction

Since excellence is the hallmark of a Loyola education, our teachers are encouraged to strive for excellence and to urge their students to do the same. Excellence is defined as service in love. This is service containing more than an academic dimension. It includes sincere involvement with students, as well as a commitment to the school’s spiritual mission.

At Loyola, as Christians, we believe each person has been given gifts by God. As Saint Paul wrote:

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, these specific gifts we are given are to be used for the benefit of others. That is what Christian service is about.

It is in this sense that teaching at Loyola High School is a form of service.

Our teachers serve the Loyola community by striving for excellence in using their gifts in the best way possible.

Our teachers strive for excellence by creating an educational atmosphere of hope; service; love of Christ; freedom of self-discovery; respect for other races, religion and nations; and for the economic status of every member of the Loyola community.

Our teachers focus their service and striving for excellence in three areas: academics, involvement with students outside the classroom and a personal commitment to the spiritual mission of the school.

Since Loyola is a Jesuit Catholic college preparatory school, our teachers are expected to recognize and subscribe to Loyola’s academic philosophy.

This philosophy offers a rigorous, demanding program based on our Christian principles. It is a tenet of these Christian principles that our teachers use their gifts to strive for excellence in the area of academics.

Our teachers communicate most directly with students in the classroom. The role of the teacher as educator is best served when it provides an environment in which intellectual growth may occur for all students.

To achieve this goal, Loyola’s educators must genuinely care – and display concern – for their students as individuals. Loyola’s learning process best functions in this teacher-fostered atmosphere of love and concern.

Creating such an atmosphere requires a high degree of professionalism, involving both competence and a style that accurately represents Loyola.

Competence means a teacher is knowledgeable in their field. This knowledge grows through reading, taking courses and making use of workshops and conventions. It especially expands through discussion and observation of the knowledge and experience of one’s colleagues.

Competence also shows itself via preparation and organization in the classroom. Competence means updating and revising lesson plans. It means developing productive and fair projects, assuring that each student will successfully come to terms with the subject matter of the course.

The second of Loyola’s expectations for professionalism is style.

Our teachers are characterized by their exceptional enthusiasm. They strive to communicate through attitudes and behavior that not only value learning, but in the content of the material being taught.

The style of a professional must include being able to work with, and for, those in a position of authority. These professionals must conscientiously and punctually fulfill the required duties expected by their administrators and chairpersons. Professionalism also requires an attitude that is not scornful or demeaning, but is positively supportive of co-workers.

Our Loyola teachers are individuals. With the final goals of the community always in mind, our teachers look for ways to communicate, teach and test that are compatible with their distinct personalities. Our teachers strive for excellence when they educate students in a way that works best for them and which accomplishes the departmental goals of the community.

Striving for excellence also means growing with students and being an active part of their learning experience. Being creative, in this context, means seeking the best methods to pursue – and to improve – instruction.

Most importantly, our teachers should strive for good rapport with our students and their parents. Teachers should willingly put themselves at the service of these families by recognizing that parents are primary agents, if not the primary agents in the education of a student.

The above characteristics for a teacher at Loyola are presented as general guidelines. As St. Paul stated, each person has a different contribution to make. That is why our teachers are encouraged to develop their own gifts and abilities. Each of our teachers makes the best contribution they can to the development and growth of the school’s academic mission.

Involvement Outside the Classroom

Our teachers are first expected to serve the interests and needs of our students. Our teachers should then consider their own strengths, talents, and capabilities – and apply them to the area of co-curricular activities.

This should be done in a way that best meets the needs of the whole Loyola community. Excellence in co-curricular activities is achieved when our teachers give the best they can for the community’s good, all while keeping that commitment in proportion to their particular circumstances.

Our teachers serve in the best way possible in the area of activities when they take time to be an observer of the community and to communicate with its members, students and fellow faculty alike.

Observing that community is necessary to discovering its needs. It is also essential to communicate with students and colleagues about the needs of the community. This is the best way for our teachers to be better able to decide how their talents can be used to meet the perceived needs of the community. This might be through coaching, forming a new club, taking on an existing club or aiding the administration of the school. Observation and communication help our teachers to sort out the real needs of the community as opposed to what a teacher might think are the needs.

Our teachers serve in the area of co-curriculars by advising, counseling, coaching, moderating, chaperoning, proctoring and spending quality time with colleagues and students. In doing this, they inspire all members of the Loyola community to strive for excellence.

Faculty members can also serve our Loyola community by sitting on boards, committees and panels that facilitate school functions, or by acting as liaisons among administration, student and faculty groups.

Lastly, faculty members can be of service to our school by being of service to one another. This means being supportive of, and spending time getting to know their colleagues in a genuine, human sense. Supporting one’s colleagues is an essential element in the development of any community. Especially a community which strives for excellence and in which there are many recognizable pressures placed upon the individual.

Commitment to the School’s Spiritual Philosophy and Mission

Being a Catholic school, Loyola must proclaim a specific form of Christian spirituality. Our community, however, must be aware of the presence of other creeds within the community. To respect and accept the beliefs of others is a central part of the Loyola education. A faculty member’s adherence to this critical idea is based on the assumption they have a spirituality, whether it be of the Jesuit or religious teacher, of the Catholic layperson, or the non-Catholic teacher. Each Loyola faculty member has something to give in this area: a unique relationship with God that is their own.
Loyola is committed to developing mature, Christian young men among its students. A Christian is the one who follows Jesus. Like Jesus, Christians give the best of themselves to build up the community, characterized by serving 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.

This means Christians must have a concern for social justice. Christians must view the world as the human community. Christians must commit themselves to helping build a world in which all people might “have life and have it more abundantly.”

This form of service is expected of a Loyola teacher. A Loyola teacher is expected to give themselves to the community so all might live fully. This means being a model of loving service for students and using one’s gifts for the good of our community. It means helping students to develop a sense of responsibility and a vision of what it means to be a follower of Jesus in the world today. It means helping students to have a vision of a just world and a grasp of how that vision grows out of Christian values.

Every teacher at Loyola has a contribution to make to the growth, life and development of our school community. This service can bring life to others. Once each community member is filled with the Lord’s gift of life, that person is now prepared to bring that gift to others.

There are three expectations Loyola has for faculty members in the area of spiritual activities. It is expected each faculty member will be supportive of the spiritual direction of the school. This support may be expressed in various ways, but specifically by encouraging students and colleagues to participate in our school’s spiritual activities.

Teachers are also encouraged to become part of the spiritual programs of the school. They may assist in retreats, planning liturgies, sacramental activities and in the Christian Service Program. Each teacher’s unique relationship with God, offered to the community, is a contribution to the spiritual growth of that community.

Each teacher is encouraged, if they so choose, to take steps to develop their own spirituality. Opportunities available for this at Loyola include faculty retreats, the adult education program and sharing the Eucharist with fellow faculty members. A teacher may also develop an active interest in the spiritual direction of the school through reading and discussion.

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.” This means 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 Catholic secondary school, subscribes to this goal.The achievement of this goal is facilitated primarily through the environment created at Loyola.

Fr. Arrupe continues: “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 of service discussed above – academics, involvement outside the classroom and commitment to the school’s spiritual mission – are areas where faculty members are expected to provide the environment in which Loyola students can become new persons.

Faculty members provide this environment by being availableand of service to students and one another. Faculty members themselves are also striving to become the new persons of whom Fr. Arrupe speaks.

The key word here 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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