“Teaching is a beautiful work,” Pope Francis has said, noting, “Too bad that teachers are underpaid.”
The Holy Father made these remarks while addressing members of the Union of Italian Catholic Teachers, Directors, Educators, and Trainers (UCIIM) Saturday afternoon in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.
The Argentine Pope reflected how, in his nation, teachers had to work much overtime to make a salary that one could barely live on, and how it takes a certain dedication to be an effective teacher.
“Teaching is beautiful,” he highlighted, because “you can see, day after day, the people who are entrusted to your care grow.” “It is also a great responsibility!” he exclaimed.
Not only do teachers spend the time at school doing their work, they also have to spend time preparing, “while keeping in mind every one of their students and how to help them move forward,” he said.
“It’s true?” he said, “It’s an injustice.”
Recalling good memories of the days he spent in the classroom with students, the Pope said, “Indeed, the duty of a good teacher – all the more for a Christian teacher – is to love with greater intensity the more difficult, weaker and disadvantaged students.”
“Jesus would say, ‘If you love only those who study, who are well educated, what thanks do you have?'”
If there are some students that make you lose your patience, the Pope said, “we have to love them even more!”
“I ask you to love more the ‘difficult’ students, those who do not want to study, those who find themselves in difficult conditions, the disabled, foreigners, who are now a big challenge for the school,” he urged.
Francis reminded them that everything cannot be reduced only to the transmission of technical knowledge, but must encompass more, such as making each student “feel welcomed and loved for who they are, with all their limitations and potential.”
To this end, he said, “Your task is more necessary than ever. And you must teach not only the content of a subject, but also the values of life and habits of life.”
Pope Francis concluded entrusting them to Mary’s protection and imparting his Apostolic Blessing.
On ZENIT’s Web page: