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YOU ARE OBLIGED TO TOUCH HEARTS Teacher-Pupil Relationships in the Lasallian School brother school master Brothers were to be motivated by charity and were to act as elder brothers to their pupils.

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Teacher-Pupil Relationships

in the Lasallian School



school master

Brothers were to be motivated by charity and were to act as elder brothers to their pupils.

Schoolmasters in the 17th century often used fear and humiliation in order to control their pupils.

In adopting the name “Brothers of the Christian Schools”, De La Salle and his companions differentiated themselves from those “who taught for personal gain and for whom charity and humility had no place.”

What value do relationships have

in the educational process?


What got me involved in the educational field was my experience student- teaching for a year at Dean Rusk Elementary School. Three days a week, I was assigned to teach, as an assistant, 24 third graders who were living in the worst neighborhood in Atlanta. After two weeks of working at the school, the teacher, who was female, brought to my attention that the young black males in the class who had no fatherswould do better academically when I was in the classroom. It amazed me that academic performance could be altered by a simple motivational factor like a direct role model.

A Teacher Speaks from the Heart


Igot so involved with the elementary school that I began to go to special education classes and offered my services to the teacher. I really bonded with the kids in the special education class. I was teaching from the heart, and the kids’ biggest need seemed to be a teacher who cared about them and their individual needs. The greatest reward for me was working with a child who was mentally retarded and after three weeks that child began to read his first words. Just like a therapist, I feel that educating children is a form of healing. Working at this school was a confidence booster because I knew if I could relate to these kids and get positive results, I could teach anywhere. The measure of a great teacher is working with raw, unrefined students and making a change. It just seems too easy measuring a teacher’s ability when that teacher is already working with students who are successful in school.


In the middle of my last year in college, I knew that I wanted to work with children who had learning disabilities. I wanted to go to a graduate program that would be the best at providing me with the newest information.

There were two events in my life that were extremely important. The first was graduating from college. The second was accomplishing the goal of getting into graduate school even though I am dyslexic.


I believe in chances, so I do not give up on people or children. I know that if I have a class full of kids I would want all of them to be successful students. I believe in finding solutions to any and every problem. I don’t believe in quitting because of my academic experiences. With all the chances I was given, I am going to give all my students as many chances as they need to find themselves as students.


- The author, Ennis Cosby, son of well-known actor and entertainer Bill Cosby, overcame dyslexia to finish college. He went on to do graduate studies in special education at Columbia. On January 16, 1997 he was shot and killed by an 18-year-old near a Los Angeles freeway.

When I reflect on my favorite teachers in my life, they were teachers who were my friends, too. I see teachers wearing many titles besides TEACHER. I see psychologist, mother, father, friend, adviser. I believe students react to my behavior. The more I give of myself, the more they will give back to me. Lastly, my best quality is that I am very personal with all students. I work with kids and try to make them feel that I understand them. I am very stern on good morals and manners. I am not old-fashioned. I just believe in respect, honesty and truthfulness. I feel that children will be better students if they become better people.


A. Antiqueño

R e f l e c t i o n :

Recall one person who has had a significant influence in helping you discover and develop your gifts, who confirmed your potential, inspired you, or who helped you find meaning and direction in life.

What do you feel were the most significant characteristics of this person’s relationship with you?


The teachers who inspired and helped us were surely nearly always the ones who took us seriously, who believed in us and gave us a stronger sense of our self-worth and potential.– Cardinal Basil Hume, “Profession and Vocation: Teaching in the Third Millennium, 1999

The heart of good teaching is

the heart of the teacher.

A. Antiqueño

Thoughts to ponder . . .


Education is one of the professions of care and to forget it is to lose touch with something fundamental in the profession. . . . Those we perceive as caring for us have a special influence and vice versa. I believe that fidelity to young people in our time begins with a quality of care, perceivable care, in those who would work to influence them towards good. Perceived care is the mode in which our fidelity to youth is worked out. It provides the context in which teaching as a ministry to youth can function.

- Michael Warren, Youth, Gospel and Liberation



A. Antiqueño

“You are in a ministry wherein you have to touch hearts. But you cannot possibly do this without the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Beseech God to confer on you today the same grace as he gave his apostles, so that after filling you with his Spirit for your own sanctification, he may confer it on you for the salvation of others.” - St. John Baptist de La Salle, M 43.3


“It was the gentleness andtenderness for his neighbor that made it possible for St. Francis de Sales to convert so many souls to God. . . In fact, this virtue won the hearts of all those with whom he dealt, and the affection they had for him was a means he used to bring them to God. Do you have these sentiments of charity and tenderness towards the poor children whom you have to educate? Do you take advantage of their affection for you to lead them to God? If you show the firmness of afather to restrain them from misbehavior, you must also have for them the tendernessof a mother to draw them to you, and to do for them all the good in your power.” - M101.3





Why does our Founder give so much importance to relationships?




“Since you are ambassadors of Christ in the work that you do, you must act as representing Jesus himself. He wants your disciples to see him in you and receive your instruction as if he were giving it to them. . . In order for you to fulfill this duty, frequently give yourself to the Spirit of the Lord to act in your work only under his influence.” - MR 195.2

The healing and liberating action of God comes to people through the medium of ordinary human relationships. The love of the Christian teacher for young people is a visible sign and instrument of the redeeming love of God.


To renew oneself spiritually is to understand that the vocation to which one is called is a vocation to love. It is by loving all those one comes in contact with that the (Lasallian) helps reveal to them that God loves them and is calling them to give witness to God’s love in all their human contacts. – Declaration 3.4

And even today, the Institute says . . .


In effect, Christ is revealed as the savior and servant by the very factthatthe Brother/Lasallian teacher makes himself the servant of young people, preparing them to live lives more alert, more responsible, more truly human. . . . The Lasallian educatorreveals the religion of love to the extent that he leads the young to experience the benefit of the love he offers them,a love that is sensitive, sturdy and unselfish . . . It is not in books or words that the young first encounter the God who calls them, but rather in the one who instructs them. - Declaration 32.5


The character of the teacher-pupil

relationship is rooted

above all in a gospel vision.


attitude &









Gospel Vision

Christ is present by his Spirit in each person.

1. Respect God's presence in each one.

  • Honor the presence of God in each one.
  • Honor and prefer the poor who are the image of Jesus.
  • Never act in anger. If you are angry, recollect yourself and pray to the Spirit to act only under his influence.
  • Do not use inappropriate words to refer to your pupils. Address them in a way that affirms their dignity.
  • Show justice and charity in your corrections. Correct your pupils in a manner befitting rational beings, not like animals. Do not humiliate your pupils.
  • Show courtesy and respect to all as children of God and dwelling places of his Spirit.
  • Look for and affirm the good in each one.

“In today’s gospel, Jesus compares those who have charge of souls to a good shepherd who has great care for his sheep. One quality he must possess, according to Our Savior, is to know each one of them individually. This should be one of your main concerns: to be able to understand your pupils andto discern the right way to guidethem.”- M 33.1

2. Know your pupils as the

shepherd knows his sheep.


“They must show more mildness to some, more firmness towards others. There are those who call for much patience, those who need to be stimulated and spurred on, some who need to be reproved and punished for their faults, others who must be constantly watched over to prevent them from being lost or going astray. This guidance requires understanding and discernment of spirits, qualities you should earnestly and frequently ask of God.”M 33.1

* Lambert Dulong. Age 12 ½ yrs. Has been coming to school for 4 years. He has been in the 4th grade for 6 months, in the 5th grade for accounts, and in the 4th for arithmetic since May 5. He is a scatter-brained, light-headed boy but he learns and retains easily. He has very little piety in church and rarely goes to the sacraments. His particular defect is pride and he is very upset when he is humiliated. Punishment is sometimes useful for him. He is normally very hard-working, is very attentive in catechism, writing, and arithmetic. He has always been promoted on time. . .

  • Some Tips for Teachers
  • Understand the many ways young people can and do learn.
  • Adapt your methods, strategies and approaches to their abilities and learning differences.
  • Give special attention to those who have difficulties and struggle with learning.
  • Create a climate of acceptance and encouragement which supports real learning.

Care enough to know,

know enough to guide. . .


Your zeal for the children you instruct would not have much result or success if it limited itself only to words. To make it effective, it is necessary that your example support your instructions. . .This is also the way our Lord acted, of who it is said, he began to do and then to teach, and speaking to his disciples after he had washed their feet he says, I have given you an example so that you may do as I have done to you. - M 202.3

“I have given you an example so that you may do for others what I have done for you.”

Your first duty to your pupils is that of edification and good example. Have you considered that you must be a model for them of the virtues which you wish to inculcate? Have you conducted yourself as befitting good teachers? - M 91.3

3. Give good example.


c. Narrowing the gap between the values

one teaches and the values one lives.

One should be

in order to teach.

This involves:

a. Modeling a Christian lifestyle.

b. Inspiring pupils to do their best,

and to be the best they can be.

We teach who we are.


Commenting on the role of the pastoral role of the teacher, De La Salle writes:

“…a great tendernessmust be shown by them for those entrusted to their care. They must be alert to whatever can harm or wound the sheep. This is what leads the sheep to love their shepherds and to delight in their company, for there they find their rest and comfort.” - M 33.2

“If you show the firmness of afather to restrain them from misbehavior, you must also have for them the tendernessof a mother to draw them to you, and to do for them all the good in your power.” - M101.3

4. With firmness and tenderness,

win their hearts for Christ.


Tender as a mother...

  • A warm, fraternal concern for all without distinction.
  • Sensitivity to another’s needs and feelings.
  • Gentleness and kindness that flows from understanding and compassion for another’s vulnerability.
  • Exercising judgment, self-control and reserve rather than giving way to passions, anger and harshness.

Because of you, I am free to be me!

Because you believe in me,

I can believe in myself!

Firm as a father.

  • Consistency in challenging pupils to live up to the best of which they are capable.
  • Insisting that students take responsibility for their actions.

5. Be a vigilant

guardian and guide.

You encounter so many obstacles to salvation in this life that it is impossible to avoid them if you are left to yourselves and your own guidance. This is why God gives you Guardian Angels to watch over you . . . This is what God has provided in giving children teachers . . . to whom he has given the concern and vigilance, not only to prevent anything harmful to their salvation from capturing the hearts of children, but also to guide the children through all the dangers they meet in this world. . . M 197.3

It’s so easy for kids to get in trouble. You gotta watch them every minute and try and anticipate every eventuality. Look for signs that they may be having difficulties whether academic or personal.


Vigilance means keeping alert and observant in order to respond effectively to any given situation. One keeps a sharp eye in order to make sure that everything goes smoothly. In the Lasallian tradition, one is vigilant for two basic reasons:

  • To carefully monitor a child’s progress in order to follow him up, guide and help him.
  • To prevent or curb the development of bad habitsand undesirable behavior in the young who lack mindfulness and self-discipline. Firm and prudentcorrection is usually required.

6. Maintain an attitude of gratuity

and disinterestedness.

“The zeal you are obliged to have…must be so active and so alive that you are able to tell the parents …what is said in scripture: ‘Give us their souls, keep everything else for yourselves,’ that is, what we want is to work for the salvation of their souls; this is the only reason we have undertaken to guide and teach them.” M 201.3

“Your ministry requires that you teach children the science of salvation, and you are obliged to do this with entire disinterestedness.” M 108.2


When we identify with God’s desire, then God’s desire becomes ours. We want what God wants – the joy and fulfillment of all his children.


of God

  • Availability to those in need.
  • Generosity without expectation of return.
  • A willingness to “go the extra mile.”
  • A commitment to include the excluded.

Gratuity of

the Educator


1. The teacher-pupil relationship for the Lasallian educator is the “holy ground” on which he or she encounters God.

2. Lasallian educators represents Jesus in the way they relate to others. The relationship is potentially sacramental, an instrument of grace and a means of leading others to God.




3. The object of the teacher-pupil relationship is to enable the pupil to live a life more human and Christian.



4. The teacher’s way of dealing with pupils draws inspiration and guidance from Jesus’ own teaching and example. The gospel is translated into interpersonal relationships.

  • Six Characteristics of this Relationship:
  • Unconditional respect.
  • Knowing each student personally.
  • Edification and good example.
  • Tenderness + firmness.
  • Vigilance.
  • Gratuity and disinterestedness.

The End.

Special thanks to Mr. Aladdin Antiqueñofor the use of his paintings in this presentation.

LAFT/BMV 2003-04