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Speaker: Not everybody cut out to be a teacher

Written By: Beth Smith, The Gleaner

HENDERSON, Ky. - Whether it’s in public or private education, being a teacher requires a great deal of ingenuity and even more heart.

Longtime educator Jim Mattingly, superintendent of the Diocese of Owensboro Catholic Schools, told an audience at Kyndle’s Education Appreciation Breakfast on Thursday that teachers need certain personality traits.

“Educators in this day and time have very challenging and difficult jobs,” he said. “There’s tremendous pressure to perform well as a school and to meet the individual needs of the student. When I meet with teachers, I tell them that this job is not for everybody.

“To be successful, teachers must have high levels of energy, talent, dedication, teamwork, tenacity and genuine caring for all students, no matter the student’s level of learning, no matter their background and no matter how much or how little their parents value the process of education.”

Mattingly, who has experience both in the public and parochial school settings, said in addition to the challenges facing teachers, there are also great rewards.

“Educators are blessed with affirmation in ways that are unique to their profession,” he said.

“After a lot of effort by a struggling student and a dedicated teacher, when the light comes on, so to speak, for that student, both student and teacher are affirmed in a manner they will never forget.”

“I tell my new teachers to measure their career as if they are using an old fashioned weighing scale. That imaginary scale has frustration on one side and affirmation on the other. As long as the affirmation side outweighs the frustration side, you’ll be fine. You’ll have a long, happy fulfilling career — a career that merits the quote ‘If you find a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’ But if the frustration outweighs the affirmation, which can easily happen, you may not be a good fit for the job.”

Mattingly also spoke about the type of education received in Catholic schools.

“Catholic schools exist due to the shared sacrifice and hard work of thousands of people including pastors, parishioners, parents, administrators, faculties, staff ... and the list goes on. Parents of Catholic school students pay for education twice. Like all citizens, they pay their taxes that support public schools, but in addition, parents and other Catholics practice another level of stewardship by giving of their time, talent and treasure to pay their tuition and otherwise support their schools.

“Catholic schools emphasize three important concepts that combine to set students up for success in schools in life and in the next life. Those three concepts are faith formation, academic excellence and servant leadership,” he said.

“These three concepts ... are certainly the foundation of one of our most successful schools and one of which we are very proud, Holy Name School,” Mattingly said.

“Holy Name has a positive culture and climate ... a family atmosphere ... a great place for students to learn and a great place for adults to work,” he said. “A tremendous amount of work and shared sacrifice is what allows HNS not only to exist but to thrive. Much of that hard work is carried out by employees not paid as much as others in their profession and by volunteers who don’t get paid at all.

“This is brought into perspective by one statement made by a former president of Notre Dame (who said), ‘When you give of yourself to a cause that serves God and His people, blessings will be returned to you a thousand fold and more.’”

“There are countless supporters of Holy Name who continue to be blessed a thousand fold and more for everything you’re doing to advance this jewel of a school.”

Also at Thursday’s breakfast, those in attendance received updates regarding three other educational institutions.

Henderson County Schools Superintendent Marganna Stanley spoke about programs such as CATCH or Coordinated Approach to Child Health. A national program to combat childhood obesity, Stanley said the program teaches children and adults the importance of diet and exercise to a healthy life. Stanley said the school district is also promoting service learning, such as food drives and fundraisers for organizations including the The Ronald McDonald House.

Also, she said, more than 40 students recently competed in a regional technology leadership program. “Everyone that went received high enough markings that they will all go and compete in a student technology leadership conference in March at the state level,” she said. “One way we’re preparing our students to be successful ... is the use of digital literacy.”

Henderson Community College President Dr. Kris Williams noted a couple of things going on there.

“We’re (constructing) a new welding building. The building should be completed in time for fall classes next August,” she said. “We’re also very focused on campus safety with all of the concerns that you see in larger communities. So as a heads up, we’re holding a mock active shooter drill on campus on Nov. 21. It will be confined to the Sullivan Technology Center, but if you see five or six police cars on campus (that day), don’t be too worried.”

Mike Freels, director of the regional campus for Murray State University, spoke about the institution’s efforts to assist nontraditional students with higher education.

“Murray will be moving more and more toward online programs. I will also tell you ... that people working with the online programs ... we’re pushing those to be as high-quality as our on-site programs, which are excellent,” he said. “I think you will see Murray offering more things online.”

Freels said Murray is also available for the “nontraditional student.”

Murray is offering some new degrees including, an undergraduate degree in the area of Logistics and Supply Chain Management. The university is also offering a second Ph.D. program in the field of School Administration. An informational session about this new program will be held at 5:30 p.m., Dec. 8, at the Sullivan Technology Center at Henderson Community College.

Kyndle would like to thank The Gleaner and Union County First for the use of images throughout this site.