7th January, 2020

Pastoral Philosophy

The Catholic School has been described as a place…

“… where children experience their own dignity before they can define what it is” and a place where “… the long arms of the Church with the gentle fingers of Christ touch the lives of children.” – Fr. J Gallagher 15/6/92

All teachers at our school are looked to provide Christian example and pastoral guidance to their colleagues and our pupils.  They are expected to bear witness to the prayer life of the school and to display a high degree of Christian behaviour in their interpersonal relationships with pupils and colleagues alike.

We should convey to pupils our approachability and be willing to give generously of our time.  We should try to anticipate problems that they might have and teach them how to avoid them if possible and deal with them if avoidance is impossible.  We must never say or convey that sentiment “There is nothing we (I) can do” – rather “We will do whatever we can!”  This does not mean that we should be at the ‘beck and call’ of pupils as we must convey to them that personal organisation is of great importance in problem solving and that there is a ‘time and place for everything’.  (We must then be prepared to explain what that time is and where the place is for a whole range of problems – which means that we also must display great personal organisation).

Since respect for ourselves and for each other are of fundamental importance in the happy, purposeful functioning of a Christian community, we must understand the ‘raison d’etre’ of the school rules.  We must then be prepared to explain these to pupils and enforce them in a firm but friendly manner.

Courtesy counts at Trinity and we must educate that our behaviour towards others exemplifies our awareness that all people are made in the image of God and have equal value and personal worth.  We must be at pains to point out the divisive nature of dishonesty, untruthfulness and bullying and make clear to pupils that these will not be tolerated within our community.  We should point out that everyone makes mistakes which can be forgiven but that dishonesty compounds an offence and can alienate the “offender”.  (If pupils learn that they will be charitably treated when they are honest and admit transgressions they will usually become more honest individuals and learn that ‘honesty really is the best policy’).

We must play our part in dismantling the “bully’s charter” that exists in so many schools and condemn such words as “snitch” and “grass” and the sentiments that they represent.  In fact we should, at every opportunity, encourage children to be open with us in expressing their concerns.  We can do this by dealing sensitively with matters, not revealing our sources, not turning pupils against each other, manufacturing scenarios where we “discover” facts for ourselves etc.

It is true that children learn by example and equally true that they look to us for that example.  If we bear witness to Gospel values in our dealings with each other (eg. experienced teachers going out of their way to help younger colleagues) and our students, we can confidently hope to see growth in the sensitivity and caring nature of our pupils.

As a rule of thumb in deciding upon a course of action with regard to our pupils we consider – “If this was my own child how would I hope that this particular problem would be dealt with?”  The answer to this will usually guide in the correct direction.