How Prayer Centers Me as a Teacher and Allows Me to See Students in a New Light

Posted by Minnie Glosniak on 2/8/2018 8:00:00 AM

I recently had an open conversation about the power of prayer with the junior high students. This conversation was sparked when we were watching a documentary about the civil rights leader Cesar Chavez. Chavez was a migrant farm worker in California during the late 1960’s.  Chavez, the son of migrant farm workers himself, led the fight to unionize grape pickers as an adult. Chavez had gained national attention when he led his fellow migrant workers on a 300-mile walk or “pilgrimage” from Delano to Sacramento, California. The strikers carried picket signs, union signs, and a large image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on their journey. Farm workers were fighting for better wages, better living conditions, education for children and union representation. Chavez would always lead his meetings with prayer. Prayer became habit for these migrant workers and their struggle for justice.

And so, began the conversation about daily prayer, the power of prayer and how many of us make prayer a daily habit?

But the question still remained: How many students made daily prayer a habit outside of school?

Prayer has centered me as a teacher

It is customary for all students to pray daily in Spanish class. But the real question at hand was: Do you talk to God and open up your heart to God through prayer? I must confess that I am extremely lucky to be able to pray in class with all my students. Prayer is practiced before class starts, before a meal, and at the end of our busy school day.  The daily habit of prayer has kept me centered as a teacher because it reminds me of the importance of keeping an open dialogue with God, seeking strength to do His will, and being thankful for all that I have.  

Through daily prayer in Spanish, I am able to pray with my students and share the wonders of prayer. I am able to lead by example and guide students and help them see that they are able to strengthen their personal relationship with God.

An epiphany came over me

Since I pray the Holy Rosary, why not introduce the power of prayer to my students through a lesson on how to pray the Holy Rosary in Spanish? And so it began. Our latest lesson was the introduction of the Holy Rosary and all the steps of praying the rosary in Spanish. It is God’s will for His children to rejoice in Him, to pray to Him and to give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

To pray without pause means that we, as Catholics, should make daily prayer a habit and never stop doing so. As followers of Jesus Christ, prayer is the best way to communicate with God and a great way to keep a personal dialogue with Him. 

-Daily Prayer is an opportunity for students to show their gratitude to their loving God for all things.

-Daily Prayer also presents us with the opportunity to repent for our sins and ask our loving Lord for forgiveness and the strength to do His will. 

-Daily Prayer is also an act of worship to our Lord and most importantly, a reminder of who is in control of our lives and to bring our concerns to Him.  Jeremiah 33:3

Seeing students in a new light 

Recently, junior high students learned the steps of praying the Holy Rosary in Spanish. With my guidance, we paused and talked about the effects that prayer has in our lives. Some students said that they pray in silence before a game. Some prayed for wisdom before a test. Others pray for guidance when dealing with personal obstacles. Some students revealed they pray before every meal with family.

While students were sharing their personal reflections, I noticed that many of them were speaking from the heart; they spoke with such reverence that it convinced me that they too were feeling the power of the Holy Spirit!

While praying the rosary, I observed many students taking a silent pause and reflecting. Others closed their eyes and held the rosary closer while praying. Some students that normally have a hard time focusing during normal Spanish lessons I found to be in complete contemplation.

I then saw the power of prayer

Prayer seemed like a powerful meditation for some students in that it became a personal process for them. This personal process and the powerful force of prayer helps us learn more about God and what plans He has for us.

 

 

Minerva Glosniak teaches Spanish to students in grades one through eight at St. Luke School. Ms. Glosniak began teaching Spanish at St. Luke in 2016. She graduated with honors from University of Illinois at Chicago with degrees in Spanish Language & Literature and Latin American & Latino Studies and a minor in Linguistics.