Faith Portfolio

Kali Brasseur's Faith Portfolio


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Faith Portfolio Introduction

This blog has been created as a space for me to share my professional Faith Portfolio.  I will be using this space as a place where I can share my growing faith, and where I can indicate growth in five categories: prayer life, teaching the faith, witness to Catholic education, nurturing of personal faith, and practice of the faith.  I hope that I can share things like my experiences at mass, my passion for my own faith, and personal reflections, as well as photos and other memories.

A bit about me…

I was baptized Catholic when I was very young, and I have always attended mass with my family.  As I’ve grown my participation in masses has changed, but I’ve always felt like an active member of the Catholic community.  I went through the sacraments as I grew up, I participated in mass by serving and reading, and attended events like YC (a Christian event for youth).  When I went away to school, I did have trouble being away from my faith community, and I found it difficult to get used to the new church and new priests.  However, I did take several classes about Catholicism and Christianity, which allowed me learn more about my faith.  I also was lucky enough to take part in a youth pilgrimage to Le Puy-en-Velay, France with the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Since I’ve come back home I have been very grateful for my faith community and I’ve gladly re-entered the parish.  I have continued to participate in various ministries, including serving, reading, and eucharistic ministry.  I am so happy that I was given the opportunity to work in the Catholic Schools, a workplace where I am able to share my faith with staff and students.  I have been working at ways to integrate faith into my lessons, and I enjoy celebrating seasons like advent and lent with the school.  I believe that working in an environment like YCS will allow me to constantly grow in my faith, and I’m very grateful for that.

Navigating this portfolio:

You can browse the five categories by following the links on the right side of the screen, or by clicking here:
Prayer Life
Teaching the Faith
Witness to Catholic Education
Nurturing of Personal Faith
Practice of Faith


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At the beginning of a new semester I end up praying more than usual.  Exams are just finished, and I’m still praying for students who are waiting for departmental results, but most of the pressure is off.  This semester is different, since I’m continuing to teach my two grade nine classes from last semester, and my new class is made up of students that I had all last year for Math 9 and 10C.  Knowing all the students makes a new semester much less stressful for me.  However, there are still many things that I pray to God for.

I pray for patience
I pray for strength
I pray for empathy
I pray for compassion
I pray for efficiency
I pray for clarity
I pray for kindness
I pray for preparedness
I pray for motivation
I pray for love


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Lord teach me to number my days
And graph them according to your ways
Trusting you to base me in my plan
To complement your perfect diagram

Subtract the points you do not want from me
But add the values you have set for me
Divide the dividends I possess accordingly
So I can multiply them systematically.

Draw the lines I have to follow
Guide me properly with your arrow
Because sometimes I tend to be irrational
Yet all the while you want me to be rational.

Well I learn that life is like a slope
With its ascends and descends that I must cope
Going through such a wonderful formula
Is just like solving problem in algebra

Life is indeed an infinite equation
Perfected by your eternal computation
And only a minuscule yet projection
Give thanks and praise your Almighty creation

This is a prayer that I have shared with many of my math classes that uses mathematical terminology.  I’ve found that students really like this prayer even if they don’t know all of the vocabulary.  They like seeing words that they recognize scattered throughout the prayer.  It’s always a hit, and I generally use it before a test.


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Daily Prayer

The_Book_of_Awesome

When I began teaching, I thought long and hard about what I would do for my morning prayer.  A rote prayer that we say every day becomes more of a mindless routine than a time for reflection, and I remembered the way that my fellow classmates and I used to zone out during the daily foray into the big reflections binder that was in most of the classes.  I wanted to make it meaningful, and non-alienating for the non-religious students in my classroom.

I tried a number of things, like showing short videos and having discussions or discussing a something in current events every day and spending time together reflecting upon it.  However, I didn’t find that students really engaged.  Recently, I have been reading excerpts from The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha, and then praying in thanks together with my class for all the things we have been given.  When students come into the room in the morning, I allow them to choose the reading for the day.  Students have been enjoying it, and I find that they really are listening and paying attention during the reading.  This is because this book is funny and wholly positive.  I like how optimistic the book is, and how it allows us to start every day by thinking about how lucky we are to have some of these small things in our lives.  All students, no matter their religion, can relate to this and spend a few moments every day being grateful for all that God has given us.

Here is an excerpt from the book that we can all relate to:

kids-running-out-of-the-school

The Last Day of School

My friend Jason had a tradition.

Every year on the last day of school he’d stop on the bridge over the creek on his walk home, pop open all his three-hole binders, and dump and shake all his pen-scrawled notes and sticker-covered tests into the bubbling rapids below. Somehow the sight of the sheets soaking up and smearing the ink and then drowning and drifting away gave him the therapeutic closure he needed before summer officially began.

Although we didn’t all celebrate by polluting local waterways, the day always had so much meaning.

I don’t know about you but our school board didn’t spring for air-conditioning, figuring we could make it through a few hot weeks before summer break. So as the cold winter thawed into muggy summer days, the heat just sank and stank, despite pleading windows propped open with dog-eared textbooks and plastic yellow rulers.

As that last day approached, a certain smell drifted from all the backpacks, lockers, and gym closets, too. It was a musty combination of dodgeball rubber, cheap floor polish, and acne medication, complemented by a fine sprinkling of locker mold.

But that heat sure did bring some excitement, too.

Calendar days flipped by and teachers taught with a little more pep, homework assignments got lighter, and projects deadlines came and went. Tank tops came out as flip-flops clip-clopped up and down the hallway — with everybody locking eyes, smiling big smiles, and waiting patiently for that beautiful last day to finally come.

And then one day … it did.

And it sure whipped by in a whirlwind.

Maybe your teacher brought a batch of homemade brownies in a heavy glass tray and everybody sliced a square with a plastic knife while passing around yearbooks and watching a movie with no educational value whatsoever.

Maybe you wrote exams early so half the class skipped while the rest come for board games, Students vs. Teachers baseball, or just to collect report cards.

Maybe you were graduating and spent the afternoon kicking pebbles in the parking lot while chatting about all the moments you were going to miss as you moved on. There was your first cigarette, The Tuba Incident, and the hallway drama of prom season.

Making plans for pool parties, summer birthdays, and sleeping in every morning gives you a great rush and as you walk home with that pen-scratched yearbook in your light and baggy backpack, you curl your lips into a tight smile and stare way off into the distances… thinking tall thoughts … and dreaming big dreams … to fill those beautifully wide open spaces.

AWESOME!

I will continue to explore new ways to pray with my students, but I am happy with how this is working so far.

Source: 1000awesomethings


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My friend Walter committed suicide earlier this week.  My sister was very close to him.

I pray that I can help my friends see that I’m here for them.
I pray that I have the strength to support my friends.
I pray that I have the patience to be there for people who may need more than I can give.
I pray that I will never downplay or ignore someone’s feelings.
I pray that I will be thoughtful and compassionate.
I pray for those who feel so lost and lonely, those who feel depressed or anxious or confused, those who don’t know what to do anymore, those who feel they have no other choice, those who feel like there’s nothing left for them, those who feel like it won’t get better.
I pray that they find what they need.  


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Celebrating Advent and Lent

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My prayer table during Advent, 2013

 

I really enjoy the opportunity to share seasons like Advent and Lent with my students.  I am grateful to Lori for sharing daily reflections with us, and videos that we can share with our classes.  This past Advent, I tried to find something interesting about the history of the Church, Christmas or Advent to share with my students every day, on top of whatever Lori shared with us.  Lighting the candles and spending five minutes every morning discussing the importance of Advent, the waiting and the hope, was a highlight of my year.  


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A close friend of mine who I lived with for two years while I was at university tried to kill herself.  She has struggled with depression and anxiety for a long time, but somehow it still came as a shock.  Worse still, is the feeling of helplessness that overwhelms me now.  I am so far away, and I can’t help but feel like I didn’t do enough.  I knew that she had these struggles, and I didn’t do enough to remind her that I was there for her–worse, I wasn’t able to be there for her.  I’m two thousand kilometres away.  She was in a coma for days, and they weren’t even sure if she’d wake up or if she’d have brain damage, and I wasn’t there to be by her side.

It’s at times like these that I pray to God and plead with him to help.  Where I put my whole heart into it, and feel him working within me.  It sounds far-fetched, but I found out about her attempt Saturday morning.  I went to mass that evening, and prayed during the entire mass that she would be okay, that she would wake up, that I could speak with her again.  I felt that God heard me, as I sometimes do in moments of real reflection and prayerfulness.

When I left church, I checked my phone.  She had woken up.  She still couldn’t talk, and was in and out of sleep, but she was out of the coma.  Sometimes the power of prayer is absolutely unbelievable.

I pray that I can be there for my friends.
I pray that my friend will be able to find the health she needs.
I pray that I will be able to provide support to my friend.
I pray that she will be able to ask if she needs help.
I pray that her family will be there for her.
I pray that she has the strength to seek help.
I pray that she makes a full recovery.
I pray that I can be strong for her.