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DifferenceMakers: Elizabeth Recla, St. Thomas the Apostle - Ann Arbor

Please welcome DifferenceMaker Elizabeth Recla, a third grade teacher at St. Thomas the Apostle school in Ann Arbor.

Describe your school. Every parent and each staff member is dedicated to the success of each child in this building. The parents offer help and support in so many different ways; from volunteering during lunch and recess, running fundraisers, and help in the classroom. It is a true partnership in the educational, spiritual, and social growth of the children.

What drew you to teaching at a Catholic school? I honestly believe I was sent to this school. I was very discouraged after working for 11 years in a charter school. One day toward the end of the school year, I prayed out loud at my desk for God to help me and show me what I should do. That very day I received a phone call from St. Thomas asking me to come in for an interview.

Catholic schools are different because…they allow us to share our faith with our students. This is something that is very difficult or not allowed at all in a public school. As a teacher in a Catholic school, I can infuse my lessons with our faith and it really enhances each lesson as well as our daily interactions.

What is your favorite part about teaching?  My favorite part of teaching is witnessing the connections my students make to their learning both in and out of the classroom. I love to hear the stories of how they have applied what they have learned or how they have seen the product of their hard work outside of the typical school setting.

My students bring me joy and make me laugh and smile every day. I cannot imagine a different profession and I feel I am truly blessed to be able to do what I love.

In your experience, what do Catholic schools do best? St. Thomas’s Virtue based discipline program is phenomenal. The teachers work so hard every year to build relationships with their students, as well as facilitate the growth of relationships with the students among each other. Because of this, we rarely have behavioral problems. The children want to do well and they want to please their teachers.