The CRT Spotlight

CRT Spotlight #4: Shelly Conlon

CRT Spotlights are intended to encourage and inspire fellow teachers of the faith. Know a religion teacher who deserves to be featured? Please send me their name and e-mail address via my Contact page. Thanks!


Shelly Conlon

What teaching positions have you had and for how long?
12th grade theology for 7 years; 7th-8th grade religion for 4 years

Where have you taught?
Regina Catholic Education Center – Iowa City, Iowa


FAVORITE: Bible verse or story
My favorite story in the Bible is Jesus asking Peter to get out of the boat and walk to Him. Peter does great with this as long as he keeps his eyes on Jesus. The moment he looks away, he begins to sink. It’s so fitting for my life and applies to so many situations.

St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta / St. Catherine of Siena

FAVORITE: Christian work of art
A picture of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. My seniors bought it for me at the Basilica in Washington, D.C. while they were on their senior trip. They framed it, signed it, and gave it to me at the end of the year. It hangs in my classroom.

Ribeye (what can I say, I’m a Midwest girl)

FAVORITE: Book (besides the Bible) 😁
Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle

Oh so hard to pick… prolly Elf or Sixteen Candles or Pretty in Pink. Ridiculous I know.

FAVORITE: Vacation spot
Our lakehouse


What do you enjoy most about being a Catholic religion teacher?
My students. Their energy, their love, their spirit.

What religion topic/lesson do enjoy teaching the most?
The Mass, church history, social justice.

What is something your students have taught you?
Oh… wow. So much. Everyday. They remind me about the little things. They remind me to be joyful. They remind me to ask questions. They remind me to notice. They teach me to forgive; to get back up; to try again. They teach me that you are never too old to learn. They remind me that it doesn’t matter what I know, it’s how I love.

What is a “win” (story of success) that you have experienced through your role as a religion teacher?
I have a couple – one win is when my seniors come back to visit after their first few months or year at college and share how I was right about their faith being questioned/attacked. When they share that they were able to defend their faith for the first time I sleep well at night.

What is a struggle or challenge you have experienced as a religion teacher?
The constant message from the world that tells my students they don’t need faith or religion. Relativism is real.

What have you found to be most effective in helping your students develop a strong relationship with Christ and His Church?
For the past 5 years, we have provided students the opportunity to attend a Kairos retreat. It’s 4 days. It is built on Ignatian spirituality and it has had profound effects on my students’ faith lives. It has enabled more than one “8-inch drop”: when Jesus goes from someone in our brain that we know of and learn about and drops down into our heart.

What kind of advice or encouragement would you most want to share with a brand-new religion teacher?
Students don’t really care what you know until they know you care. Establish relationships with your students. Get to know them so you can better walk along side them on their journey of faith.


Anything else you’d like to add?
Teaching is one of the best vocations out there. And when you get to throw in religion, it is exciting and fruitful. Stay open always to the guidance of the Holy Spirit!

How can other teachers connect with you?

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