About Me

I’m a Catholic, and a high school English teacher.

For a while, the above sentence was the only thing I had in my “About” page, because I felt like it succinctly explained the source of almost all of my posts, and I didn’t know what else to say. But here is a little more:

I joined the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) with the University of Notre Dame after graduating with a BA in English and Theology at the University of Dallas. ACE is a Masters in Education and Service program, whose mission is to renew and strengthen under-resourced Catholic schools across the United States. We’re often called the Catholic version of Teach for America, but really our mission is pretty different. If you’re interested, you can read more about it here.

I think I should add that I don’t speak officially for ACE in any capacity – this blog consists of my personal reflections on teaching in Catholic schools. I’m interested in becoming a better Christian and a better teacher, and I welcome your thoughts and appreciate your reading.

6 responses to “About Me

  1. Michael B. Rizik Jr.

    Maura, thank you for the wonderful expositions of Edith Stein’s “feminism” in CNA. Please write more.

  2. Maura,

    I’ve invited you to participate in a blog hop focused on letting writers show off their process. I’d love to hear your answers the four questions you’ll find here: http://elflandletters.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/my-writing-processes-a-blog-hop/

    Yours,
    David

  3. Lawrence Morrissey

    Maura, I’m a 1991 Notre Dame grad, the Mayor of the City of Rockford, Illinois, a husband and father of 5 children (one of whom is deceased). I read your post on “The Problem with Catholic Schools” from August, 2015, where you related your experience learning about Montessori education sitting at a dinner event for Young Catholic Professionals. I completely agree with your observation that Montessori has a philosophy while traditional Catholic schools do not.

    Our oldest child attends our local Catholic High School. Two of our three younger children attend our local public Montessori elementary school. The Montessori program, although never explicitly discussing Catholic teachings, is much more faith-based in that a philosophy of love and respect for others and the environment is integrated into the academic experience and daily experience of the child.

    The traditional Catholic school of which I am a 1987 graduate by the way) does not do this. In the traditional Catholic school, my observation is that they segregate faith from academics and look at “community service” as a box that must be checked as opposed to an integrated academic and lifestyle experience. “Community” is not part of the traditional Catholic education. As mayor of my home town, I am frustrated by the complete disconnect of the Church from the day-to-day challenges of trying to improve my community. This problem encompasses more than just academics, but my belief is that the lack of a connection to the community while a child is being raised contributes to a Catholic student leaving our town for college and never coming back.

    The tragic failure is that students from the traditional Catholic education experience, at best, don’t know how to integrate their faith life and work life. At worst, they actually don’t try. Faith is what they do, maybe, on a Sunday, and not what they bring into their work life and family life. Since they have no “ownership” in their community growing up, the City’s problems are not their problems. They actually are raised in the traditional Catholic education model to be isolated achievers rather than community participants whose faith shapes improvement in the broader community.

    There are exceptions (me coming back to my home after graduating from ND and law school). I would say that is a function of experience and chance outside the traditional Catholic education model. Most of my friends who did well and went away to college did not come back home.

    I stumbled upon your writing in doing some research as I prepare to respond to our Diocese Draft Catholic Education Strategic Plan. They are doing the plan because enrollments are down. The draft plan is terrible. It talks a lot about fund raising but the core of the academic and faith discussion simply accentuates the traditional divide I described that separates Catholic faith from academics and community service. The plan fails to recognize what is obvious to me that parents and students want more than the traditional program provides.

    I look forward to following more of your work. I would encourage you to keep pushing for more. Parents like me and my wife are desperately pushing for and praying for an integrated approach to Catholic education.

    Best wishes,

    Larry Morrissey

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