January 25, 2019

Catholic Schools Week Supplement

Teacher’s goal: building leaders who know, love and serve God and others

By John Shaughnessy

Pam WellsPam Wells isn’t shy about the ambitious goal that she has for each of the girls and boys that she teaches in her middle school classes:

“Enabling our students to be leaders and innovators in a global society, while sharing their gifts to know, love and serve God.”

That combined goal has guided Wells in her 24 years of teaching in a Catholic school, including her current role as a teacher of middle school social studies and eighth-grade religion at SS. Francis and Clare of Assisi School in Greenwood.

“Integrating the Catholic faith into our daily life at school goes beyond prayer and religion class,” says Wells, a finalist for the 2018 Saint Theodora Excellence in Education Award, the highest honor for a Catholic educator in the archdiocese.

“It is literally impossible to teach social studies without using our faith as a catalyst or a comparison. When we study other civilizations, we are always drawing parallels with their religion and our own.”

She uses that same approach as she leads her students in discussing current events that have included right-to-life issues, the platforms of political candidates and the treatment of women in different areas of the world.

“I have implemented 21st century philosophies into Catholic education: creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking as a means of educating children to prepare them to be successful adults in our communities in the future,” says Wells, who sometimes dresses in costume to portray historical figures.

“Thousands of adolescents have walked through my door, and I believe that when they walked out for the last time, they were critical thinkers ready to make a difference in the world through their faith.” †

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