Teachers in Lasallian Schools
Lasallian schools are Catholic schools. They are open to all, but make special efforts to reach the needs of the poor, in whatever form that poverty may take (economic, social, academic, or emotional.). In schools where economic poverty is not prevalent, the mission of the Lasallian school is to educate more affluent students regarding their baptismal responsibility to work for justice and to advocate for the needs of the poor. The Lasallian philosophy of education is centered on the student and identifies teachers as ministers of God to the youth entrusted to their care. As a result, the teacher is expected to see each student with the eyes of God and to treat him or her with the same love and respect as Christ would. Further, teachers in a Lasallian school recognize their work as a vocation, a call from God, and are encouraged to see themselves as older sisters and brothers to their students.
Becoming a Lasallian educator is a process. Realistically, there are varying degrees of commitment to Lasallian principles and spirituality within a given school community. However, all teachers are expected to participate in and be open to formation programs designed to assist in integrating the Lasallian charism into their lives and their work with students. All teachers are expected to be supportive of these principles and to continue to grow personally, professionally, and spiritually.
A Lasallian school is one based on the teachings and spirituality of St. John Baptist de La Salle, a French priest who lived from 1659-1719. He founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools and established what we refer to today as the Lasallian educational mission. His goal was the salvation of children, both physical salvation by raising them out of ignorance and poverty, and spiritual salvation by teaching them the importance of having God as the center of their lives. The Christian Brothers, also known as De La Salle Brothers in other parts of the world, have pursued this mission for over 300 years. In the past 50 years, as changes in the Catholic Church occurred and the number of Brothers has declined, the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools has begun to share the Lasallian Mission with the “lay teachers” in Lasallian schools. This sharing of the mission started out of necessity to keep the schools running, but has evolved into an understanding that God is calling all of us to pursue this mission together. Today, 77,000 lay Partners and 8,000 Brothers serve over 900,000 students in 84 countries.
Teachers in Lasallian schools gradually begin to understand that the mission they are part of each day is much larger than the individual classroom they occupy. Because the Lasallian school is a vital part of the evangelizing work of the Church, the work of the teacher occurs within that larger context. The Lasallian educator brings a human and Christian education to the young, especially the poor, and in so doing, joins with other Lasallians throughout the world to touch the hearts of students entrusted to their care.