Vatican City, 16 March 2015 (VIS) - “Teaching is a beautiful job, as it allows you to see the growth day by day of the people entrusted to your care. It is a little like being parents, at least spiritually. It is a great responsibility”, said the Pope this morning to the members of the Catholic Union of Teachers (UCIIM), whom he received in audience in the Paul VI Hall. He added, “Teaching is a serious commitment, that only a mature and balanced person can undertake. A commitment of this type may inculcate apprehension, but remember that no teacher is ever alone; his or her work is shared with other colleagues and with all the educational community to which they belong”.
“As Jesus taught us, all the Law and the Prophets can be summarised in two commandments: love the Lord God and love your neighbour. We can ask ourselves: who is a teacher's neighbour? The neighbours are your students! It is with them that a teacher passes the day. They seek guidance, orientation, an answer – and first of all, good questions!”, he continued. “Among the tasks of the UCIIM is that of enlightening and promoting the correct idea of school, often obscured by discussions and reductive positions. The school is certainly make up of valid and qualified instruction, but also of human relations, that from our side are relationships of welcome and benevolence, due to all indiscriminately. Indeed, the duty of a good teacher, and far more so for a good Christian, is to love with greater intensity the most difficult, weakest, most disadvantaged students”.
Francis mentioned that if a professional association of Christian teachers wishes to bear witness to its inspiration, it is required to engage with the peripheries of school, “that cannot be abandoned to marginalisation, ignorance, and the underworld”, and he encouraged them to follow the example of many great teachers who exist in the Christian community to encourage from within the school that, independently of whether or not it is administered by the state, is in need of credible teachers and witnesses of mature and complete humanity. “Teaching is not just a job”, he concluded. “It is a relationship in which each teacher must feel that he is fully involved as as person, to give meaning to the task of educating his pupils. … I encourage you to renew your passion for mankind in the process of formation, and to be witnesses of life and hope”.