Tuesday, April 12, 2016

We Are Peter

We Are Peter
Every week I send out a list of resources (links, videos, etc.) to teachers as a way to sharpen their respective axes. One of the Teacher Resources I listed a few weeks back was a blog about the curse of knowledge (http://www.edutopia.org/blog/the-curse-of-knowledge-chris-reddy?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow). In it, the author mentioned a few of the components that we often overlook based on our current level of knowledge. Being experts in our fields and of our content, we can often forget what it is like not to have the knowledge or skills we teach to students. One strategy to combat this "curse" is known as spacing. The article says this about spacing: 
Blocked practice is ancient and is no longer considered best practice. An example of blocked practice is cramming. Though it feels like learning, blocked practice results in learning that is shallow, and the connections quickly fade. The preferred alternative is the opposite of blocked practice: spaced practice.
Exposing yourself to content and requiring your brain to recall previously learned concepts at spaced intervals (hours, days, weeks, or months) makes the content sticky and results in deeper retention with solid neural connections. As spaced practice is the way that you learned the content you teach, it makes sense to employ the same technique with your students. So thinking of your content as a cycle that is frequently revisited makes learning easier for your students while helping alleviate the curse.
While listening to the proclamation of the Gospel on Sunday morning, this particular concept bounced back into my mind. Peter needed frequent reminders of who he was being called to be. 

In Sunday's Gospel, Peter needs Christ to remind him, yet again, that Peter is the Rock upon which Christ will build the Church. Peter and the apostles, despite the power and hope of the Resurrection, have reverted back to being fishermen. They have gone back to their former way of life. The risen Christ challenges Peter in a fashion similar to the call of the first apostles, "Feed my lambs...Tend my sheep...Feed my sheep...Follow me." 

If Peter needed spaced reassurance of his dignity and worth, how much more do we need a similar level of affirmation? If we need this support, how much more must our students need it? From the repetition of concepts and skills, to reminders about expectations, to consistent positive reinforcement, let us be like Christ in offering these messages to our students as often as they need it to realize their God-given potential. 

Like Christ, let us be quick to show mercy. Let us willingly offer students our love. Let us see them for who they can become, not for what they are currently doing. Let us continue to place our hope in the fulfillment of who God created them to be and let us continue to demonstrate to them that Hope Will Rise! 

Peter, a liar, became the first Pope. 

Saul, a murderous soldier, became one of the greatest evangelists ever. 

Similarly, Jesus is doing something AMAZING inside of each and every one of us, including our students. Remember that we are loved by God and that God's love is enough to save the world. Therefore, we are enough and we can play a part in God's salvific plan! 

His Precious Blood is coursing through our veins. 

We are called to greatness. 

We are called to holiness. 

We are called to sainthood. 

"Feed my lambs...Tend my sheep...Feed my sheep...Follow me."