Editor's Note - Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 28 - Feb. 3) continues today and so does our special series that spotlights the amazing educators at Gibbons and what they learned from their equally-amazing students. The stories they share in their first-person accounts underscore that Catholic schools inspire students and educators alike to learn, serve, lead, and succeed, which is the theme of this year's celebration. Each day of Catholic Schools Week we will post one essay; and on this fourth day of the celebration Theology Educator Austin Faur shares his story. Austin, who started teaching at Gibbons this school year, teaches four sections of Theology 9: Introduction to Catholicism and two sections of Catholic Vocations with seniors. He is an assistant coach for Ultimate Frisbee and is involved with Intramurals. He is pictured above, seated at the desk, with some of his senior students.
A seemingly insignificant indoor soccer game kicks off at 8:30 on a Friday night in November. A few fans are scattered in the bleachers, but I find myself on the sideline "coaching" a few of my seniors and their friends. We were entering the season of Advent, and my freshmen made goals to incorporate more prayer in their lives. What began as a simple goal for a few girls to pray before means with their group of friends at lunch, turned into an invitation to pray and eat with them. So, there I was praying and eating with them for the remainder of Advent and, at the same time, learning about how scoring works in cheer competitions or how they got an A on their latest biology test. These are just two examples of the most important lessons my students have taught me. Namely, that relationships we build with our students are not contained to the 45 minutes we spend with them in the classroom, but rather they extend into the everyday activities that are meaningful to them.