In case you’re curious, here’s the background story on Catholic Religion Teacher and some ideas on where I hope to take it from here.
My first ever teaching assignment began in 2005 at a Catholic school in Dallas, Texas. At our first day of teacher inservice I was told I would be tasked with teaching the following:
2nd Grade Religion
5th Grade Religion
6th Grade Religion
7th Grade Religion
8th Grade Religion
5th Grade Science
5th Grade Social Studies
As every new teacher can attest, my first year was a bit of a challenge. I managed my way through 5th grade science and social studies, but really struggled with teaching religion.
Weird, right? Catholicism was the subject I was most passionate about. It was the subject I had studied the most and knew the best. It was the subject that had personally changed my life and brought me into the teaching profession…
So what was the problem?
In short, the resources.
I tried the religion textbooks I was given and then tried an entirely new set the next year and again the year after that. I scoured the Internet for every Catholic lesson, activity, and assignment I could find. However, time and again I happened upon resources that were boring, irrelevant, and/or completely “dumbed-down” (see Bishop Barron’s video on the latter here). I kept thinking to myself, “Why is something as awesomely true, good, and beautiful as the Catholic faith so consistently presented in such dull and uninspiring ways?”
I complained about this dearth of top-notch resources for a while. First to others. Then to God. And then, at some point during one of my whiney prayers I felt God directly challenge me: “Greg, maybe I’m calling YOU to do something about this…”
At first I was mad. Then slightly annoyed. Eventually humbled. And then finally, excited.
I took it upon myself from there on out to teach the faith as best I could, regardless of the resources I had at my disposal.
And so I began, with much trial and error, to create my own unique lessons, assignments, and activities. It was a TON of work, but immediately rewarding – both for my students and myself.
Over time, a number of my students suggested that I should make a website where I could share my lessons with other religion teachers. I laughed this off at first, but their words stuck with me. Thinking back again to God’s challenge (“Greg, maybe I’m calling YOU…”), I decided to give it a shot.
To my surprise, my little website started seeing traffic from all over the world (from Canada and Cambodia to Chile and Cameroon!). Shortly thereafter I began receiving e-mails from teachers with stories about how much their students were enjoying and learning from my resources (praise God!). Later on, some teachers were e-mailing to encourage me to create religion lessons full-time!
And so, after 14 years in the classroom I decided to take a step back (it was a good time to do it: I was burning out and baby #4 was on the way!) so that I could stay home with my two littlest ones and give a little more focus to Catholic Religion Teacher.
First on the CRT docket? A new website!
And after that?
Well, I have about a million more plans and ideas for Catholic Religion Teacher, but unfortunately still only have 24 hours in a day! 😉 😂
That said, God-willing, here are a few things I’d love to accomplish:
- Improve, update, and upload all kinds of previously shared resources
- Create tons of brand-new, super awesome lessons, assignments, and activities
- Develop a one-stop Catholic merch shop (featuring fun and inspiring faith-themed classroom posters, coffee mugs, t-shirts, etc.)
- Cultivate an online community of Catholic religion teachers that can serve and support one another through shared experiences, words of advice, etc.
If you have any other ideas on what I can or should do, please let me know! My family comes first, of course, but I’m really excited to put my hand to the plow and (slowly but surely) see some of these dreams become a reality.
As always, your prayers are MUCH appreciated! Know of my prayers for you as well.
Like what you’re hearing? Excited to see where Catholic Religion Teacher goes next? Then be sure to hop on board of the CRT ship to stay up-to-date, get a bunch of freebies, and be a part of the adventure!