Faith and Knowledge Rewards Are Intrinsic for Teachers at Catholic Schools
Waller, C. L., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: C. L. Waller Daily Herald Staff Writer
A public school teacher would receive a strong reprimand if he or she corrected students by saying their actions were not Christian.
Not the case in Catholic schools. Freely speaking about Christ is not only what sets Catholic schools apart from public schools, but it is also what attracts laypeople to teach there.
"It's not the money that's keeping us here. It's the sense of ministry or autonomy," said Carol Schubring, a second-grade teacher at St. Patrick School in Wadsworth.
In fact, teachers at Catholic schools make about 80 percent of the salary a teacher makes in public schools, said Sister Margaret Farley, teacher personnel coordinator for the Archdiocese of Chicago. With the current salary schedule, it would take a Catholic elementary schoolteacher 19 years to make $30,000 a year, she said.
The ministry of teachers is among things being celebrated through Friday during Catholic Schools Week. The theme this year is "Catholic Schools, Where Faith and Knowledge Meet." Schools throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago are celebrating the week through Friday, marking each day with faith in one of the following: community, students, volunteers, nation and teachers.
In Lake County Catholic schools there are 8,760 elementary-age students taught by 561 teachers while 1,556 high school students are taught by 90 teachers.
The Archdiocese of Chicago owns the elementary schools, but the high schools are usually operated by an order of priests or nuns. Many Catholic schools in Lake County have waiting lists and it is not uncommon to find elementary classrooms of 30 students.
High school religious studies teacher Marianne Szabo says she was always a spiritual person, even when she was a nurse. Being a teacher at Carmel High School in Mundelein means setting an example as well as talking directly with them about religion.
"You teach not only academic material, but you are mentoring or modeling," she said.
The same holds true for those teachers in Catholic elementary schools.
"The main reason I stay is because my faith is such a huge part of my life and I get to share that with the students," said Mary Kwiecinski, who is in her ninth year at St. Bede School in Ingleside.
Nicole Perron, a teacher at St. …