“As educators, it is our responsibility to teach minds, touch hearts and transform the lives of the students entrusted to our care” (De La Salle, 1994). This aspirational statement serves to inspire, but it also raises many questions about what “habits of the heart” constitute caring, and how teacher preparation programs might prepare future teachers to care for their students during frightening, unpredictable, unprecedented times such as those we are living through at present. During a capstone undergraduate course, future teachers considered the Twelve Lasallian Virtues of a Good Teacher (virtues they had been introduced to at the beginning of their program) and reflected on one virtue they possessed and one they felt was most challenging. Students were asked to explain the impact these virtues may have on their teaching lives and their future students. This article demonstrates the powerful influence of reflection and how useful such reflection on the Lasallian Virtues can be for educators, especially in traumatic times such as these, when students need an empathetic teacher the most.
Keywords: Lasallian virtues, reflection, future teachers, diverse students, social and emotional responsiveness
Lisa Anne Vacca-Rizopoulos, who earned her doctorate at Fordham University, is a professor in the education department at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York. Lisa was named Lasallian Educator of the Year in 2012-2013. She teaches undergraduate literacy courses for regular and inclusive classes. Her research interests include effective literacy strategies for English as a new language learners and students with various learning challenges. Lisa has published many articles on the effective infusion of technology to support literacy development for diverse learners.
Trace Lahey, who earned her doctorate at Columbia University, is a teacher educator living in New York State. Trace has served as a teacher and administrator in a range of educational settings. She has taught at both the elementary and secondary levels. Prior to joining the faculty at Manhattan College, Trace also served as a clinical professor, working intensely with student teachers. Her research interests include preparing future teachers, literacy in the content areas, and integrating creative methods in the classroom.
Lisa Juncaj is the director of business systems at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York. She earned her BA in elementary education at Manhattan College in 1999 and completed her MS in organizational leadership at Manhattan College in 2021. She was named Lasallian Administrator of the Year in 2008-2009. She is a member of the Association for Lasallian Mission Committee of the District of Eastern North America (DENA), a community of Brothers of the Christian Schools and Lasallian Partners. Lisa is a frequent presenter for the Professional Development Group, and her research interests include organizational leadership.