Theology of the Body and the Catholic Teacher

How do we go about teaching sexuality in a Catholic school?

The challenge for so many teachers in Catholic schools in the area of sexuality formation cannot be overemphasised.

As well as their normal teaching load and many other responsibilities they are often expected to be able to successfully deliver content in areas such as human sexuality and the Catholic Church’s understanding of what it means to be a human sexual person made in the image and likeness of God.

Not only do most Catholic teachers often lack formation in this area for their own professional practice but they also face complex, demanding and even aggressive challenges from the wider society. It is a challenging moment in history for every Catholic teacher. We are witnessing an extraordinary cultural moment in terms of gender, marriage and many related issues. Has there ever been a more difficult time for a committed Catholic teacher to try and share a rich and compelling message about human sexuality? (more…)

Catholic Education Seminar With Jonathan Doyle

Catholic Education Seminar With Jonathan Doyle

Catholic education seminar

Jonathan Doyle MLMEd

Catholic Education Seminar

In the download below from a very recent Catholic education seminar,  I explore some of the big themes in Catholic education with a live audience of over 100 Catholic teachers.

We explore what it means to be an authentic Catholic school and the importance of a deep understanding of vocation and mission.

This is the first in a two-part series and in the second talk I look at distinguishing features of a Catholic school as well as key pastoral issues faced by young men in Catholic schools.

In this special event I had the chance to share my passion on the big issues that shape the experience of so many of our Catholic schools. It is a short and powerful message with a range of simple take-away ideas that can put to use quickly in any school environment.

How Can You Find Out More?

Our staff seminars page is HERE

Our online formation program is HERE

Teaching Beauty In Catholic Schools.

Teaching Beauty In Catholic Schools.

Teaching Beauty in Catholic Schools:

I am lucky to work in a school that is so supportive of the spiritual growth of both the students and staff. But my most recent inspiration came not from a staff development day, but from my Twitter stream (of all places).

From his Twitter handle @pontifex, Pope Francis tweeted: Thank you to all teachers: educating is an important mission, which draws young people to what is good, beautiful and true.

I was proud that Pope Francis had singled out us as educators, and I felt the call to reflect about my teaching practice in the classroom. Have I really been leading my students to what is good, beautiful, and true? I thought perhaps this only applied to the art teachers, who study the magnificent artworks of Michaelangelo, or the music teachers who study Mozart and Beethoven, but I was a Business Studies teacher; I figured there wasn’t much beauty in a balance sheet.

So I read through my Stage 6 Business Studies syllabus, trying to find an opportunity to study an amazing charity that saves the lives of kids in hidden pockets of distant nations, or a business case study on a finance company that made its profits entirely ethically (if they existed). Maybe the call to draw my students to the ‘good, beautiful and true’ would have to be during my obligatory load of Year 8 Geography (which I am certain no teacher is actually ‘trained’ to teach); there’s always a good and true glacier somewhere that’s bound to be beautiful right?

As I reflected on the practicality of incorporating ‘beautiful’ businesses into my unit of work it dawned on me that perhaps I was going about it all wrong. Sure there are instances where we can incorporate good, true, and beautiful content into our lessons, but as teachers we teach students through much more than our syllabus content. Below are a few simple ways I hope I am able to draw my students to what really matters.

Making prayer normal

Prayer is not just a routine we do before each lesson, not something we do because we’re in a Catholic school, but something we do because we have a personal relationship with God. Because sometimes we just have things to pray for. We pray for each other, we pray for our upcoming exams, we pray for motivation, for strength, for diligence, for knowledge. Simply, we just pray together and involve God in our everyday lessons. I want to teach my students that prayer is something we just do. I want to impart an enriched prayer life to each one of my students.

Making Prayer Normal

Making Prayer Normal


Striving to be constantly cheerful

I come to each class with a smile. How else can I convey the blessing of having meaningful and fulfilling work than through my own disposition? It’s hard for students to see beauty in work if we teachers look like we hate our jobs. It’s no wonder that students don’t want to work hard, if they are constantly fed messages that work is boring, tiresome, mind-numbing, and a necessary pain before we can get to the weekend.

catholic teacher

Sometimes we have to choose to be joyful in spite of things.

Showing them love beyond the classroom

The first thing I ask people who are considering being teachers is, ‘do you love kids?’ Above our love of subject matter, our love for education, or even our love for holidays, should be our love for the students in our care. We can show love to our students through the simplest of actions; doing small things to build rapport, to create a safe learning environment, to let them know you have a vested interest in their lives and, most importantly, having their interests above our own.

That may mean we need to answer emails over the weekend, or spend more time designing lessons that support our weaker students and extend our stronger students. It may simply mean not giving up on that one student who appears to have given up on himself.

Striving to be the best teacher I can be professionally

This means preparing thoughtful, effective lessons (whether they work out or not). I provide adequate and meaningful feedback on assessments. I work on my craft, fighting the temptation to be mediocre in my teaching because I think this, in itself, demonstrates the beauty of our profession.


Sharing my own story

Why did you really become a teacher? Sharing our own story can give our students a great perspective on life. If no one becomes a teacher for the money, then why do we do it? This was a surprisingly effective way to convey to my students that money isn’t everything (quite a feat in a Business Studies class). If your students can understand that what gets you out of bed in the morning is more than a pay slip, their plans can expand to encompass all the beautiful things that will one day get them out of bed.


Making sure I pray for each one of my students by name

One thing I took from a former principal was that we should be the spiritual leaders of our classrooms, ensuring we pray for our students more than anyone else in the room. So, to this day, I pray for each one of my students by name (I even print out a class list). I pray for their current situations, for their well-being, for their future happiness. I pray that they won’t just be good students but good adults, and one day good parents, and good professionals.


It is crucial that we pray for our students.

And I pray that they find what is good, beautiful and true even in things as simple as a period 4 Business Studies class about balance sheets.

An Interview with Richard Sellwood

rich bearsIn this awesome interview we meet father of seven, evangelising surfer and Religious Education Coordinator, Richard Sellwood. Join your host Jonathan Doyle as he and Richard explore the big issues in Catholic education.




Download (right-click and save as)

An Interview with Richard Sellwood

What is your current role?

Head of Religious Education- Mandurah Catholic College

What do you spend most of your time doing in this role? Tell us about your work/vocation?

I’m a teacher and so I spend most of my time in the classroom explaining to students the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith. This I fit around my primary vocation as husband and father to seven children.

I’m a covert to the faith and chose to become a teacher specifically to share the Catholic faith.

I really try hard to enjoy each day. All the personalities, all the questions, all the laughs, all the youthful enthusiasm that pervades school life.