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DifferenceMakers highlights teachers from Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lansing. 

Welcome, Rebecca Daman from St. Joseph Catholic School in St. Johns!  

Please tell us about yourself as a teacher at St. Joseph School. 
Hi! My name is Rebecca Daman. I teach Begindergarten (Young 5’s) at St. Joseph School in St. Johns. This is my third year in this program. I taught 1st grade in a public school for 13 years before I came to St. Joe. I absolutely loved teaching children to read and sharing my love of literature with them. Now, I get to work with very young children, and for some of them it is their very first school experience.  I have 2 sons that also go to St. Joe, so I feel very fortunate to be close to them every day.

Describe your school from a teacher’s perspective.
St. Joe is a very supportive environment for both staff and students. We all depend on each other, encourage each other, collaborate together, and truly enjoy being together. I feel like part of a family. Our staff has high expectations for the students. There is an atmosphere of respect, love, and service.

What drew you to teaching at a Catholic school?
I was drawn to St. Joe for several reasons. First, I am a St. Joe graduate. Coming back to teach here was like coming home. The atmosphere, smells, and sounds were all familiar and comforting. Some of my colleagues were even my teachers back in the day! Second, my own children were attending St. Joe and teaching here was an opportunity to be closer and more connected to them. Third, at the public school, I felt like something was missing. When I began teaching at St. Joe, I realized I was finally able to teach the whole child. I am able to help them grow not just academically but emotionally and spiritually as well. Finally, I was drawn to opportunity to grow in my own faith. I am blessed to be able to be a witness to the children and families I work with and share with them how I see God working in my life.  

What is your favorite part about teaching? What are your biggest challenges? What are your greatest rewards? 
My favorite part of teaching is connecting with the children and building relationships with the wonderful families I work with. I love the excitement the children bring to learning new subjects and new activities.

The biggest challenge for me is finding the balance between time spent on school business and time at home with my family.

The greatest reward is having students come back after having been in my class and say that I made a difference in their lives. Knowing that I somehow touched someone’s life in a positive way is the best feeling. It’s like I have, in some small way, made the world a better place.

In your experience, what do Catholic schools do best? What does your school do best?
I feel Catholic schools are great at integrating faith education into other academic areas.  My school has a great academic reputation. Our students leave elementary school prepared for the challenges of middle school and life beyond that, academically, spiritually, and emotionally. Our students are equipped with knowledge, faith, confidence, and important life skills. 

Finish this sentence: Catholic schools are different because…
Catholic schools are different because everyone is invested in helping the children succeed. There is an amazing partnership between the school and families. We are all working together to give children the very best academic, faith-filled education possible. We are helping children become disciples of Jesus. What a great honor!


Find a Catholic school near you! Catholic schools in our 10-county diocese are fully accredited and staffed by certified teachers who are committed to the success, well-being and spiritual development of every child.