The CRT Spotlight

CRT Spotlight #10: Mary Cushing

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!

INTRODUCTION

Name:
Mary Cushing

What teaching positions have you had and for how long?
High School Social Studies teacher for 3 years, 6-8 Social Studies and Religion Teacher for 7 years

Where have you taught?
Star International Academy – Dearborn Heights, MI and St. Thomas the Apostle – Peoria Heights, IL

JUST FOR FUN

FAVORITE: Bible verse or story
“In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to dwell on those who walk in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” – Canticle of Zechariah

FAVORITE: Saint
St. Maximilian Kolbe

FAVORITE: Christian Work of Art
Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe

FAVORITE: Food
Middle Eastern

FAVORITE: Book (besides the Bible) 😁
It’s a tie between The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

FAVORITE: Vacation spot
Northern Michigan

FAVORITE: Thing(s) to do in your free time
Read classic literature, hike, and practice hospitality

FROM THE CLASSROOM

What do you enjoy most about being a Catholic religion teacher?
It is the most relevant and relatable subject of all and I can speak from experience.

What religion topic/lesson do enjoy teaching the most?
Any topic that gets us on a lengthy tangent because the students are so interested in it. My favorite classes are those where the lesson plan does not get accomplished because they had so many questions. This happens mostly when talking about morality and Catholic Social Teaching.

What is something your students have taught you?
My students have taught me to be authentic with them.

What is a “win” (story of success) that you have experienced through your role as a religion teacher?
A non-Catholic student once said that I answered a lot of their questions and was never judgmental.

What is a struggle or challenge you have experienced as a religion teacher?
The lack of Catholic curriculum series that are engaging and have depth. Thank you CRT for your work!

What have you found to be most effective in helping your students develop a strong relationship with Christ and His Church?
Talking about my own struggles and experiences with my faith, practicing prayer as well as curriculum, going to adoration and teaching them about the Real Presence.

What kind of advice or encouragement would you most want to share with a brand-new religion teacher?
Be willing to talk about the “tough stuff” even if you have to say “I’m not sure but I will look that up.” Our students are craving truth and frankness. Also, share about your own spiritual life, especially your doubts and struggles, they want to know that you are just like them.

CONCLUSION

How can other teachers connect with you?
Please follow me on Instagram! @mrscushingteaches

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