A prayer table in a classroom is like a Chief Digital Officer at a record label — a nice way to pretend that you care when you’re really just shoving something off into a corner.
Legacy organizations sometimes hire someone who gets technology, and maybe even give them a fancy title, but in reality it’s just a token gesture as they sideline them in a digital silo in which they have no real influence over the rest of the organization.
I can’t help but think of this empty gesture approach when thinking about religion in schools. There are some ways in which a religious sense is integrated into the life of the community, but there are also many empty gestures — ways to put religion “over there” in the corner.
My son, Noah, just finished his first year of kindergarten. At a curriculum night back in the Fall, he was taking us around his classroom, basically shouting while showing us all of the things — this is where we have these toys, and this is where we do these activities, and here’s where we learn about words, and here’s the calendar, etc. I see a strange table with in Ikea leaf canopy thing over it in the corner. “What’s that?” His reply: “Umm… what’s that? I don’t know…” The one thing in the entire room he can’t identify? The prayer table.
The school board mandates that teachers set up these prayer tables in their class. What’s the point, if it’s going to be able as effective as hiring some token Chief Digital Officer and placing them off in a silo? Catholic schools should be doing better with religion than a record company with technology.
3 thoughts on “A Prayer Table in a Classroom is like a Chief Digital Officer at a Record Label”
I teach student teachers about teaching in a Catholic school. Would love to share this with them??
I’m not a teacher, but my wife is a Catholic school teacher. I was helping her set up a new classroom today, and we talked through the prayer table setup. I was thinking that, if I did have a classroom, I’d be spreading the religious icons around the classroom, in an integrated way, underlying everything — like an authentic religious sense — rather than quarantining religion as something “over there” in the corner. Like, having stations of the cross around the classroom or something. Better yet, if there are a handful of religious icons or symbols throughout the class, being able to reference each one at a different point through the year as part of a lesson somewhere… making something that was perhaps ignored or taken for granted suddenly come to life and acquire meaning… making something that was always there, in plain sight, finally be noticed… which is what religious experience is actually like, noticing something at a deeper level that was always there — not visiting the corner occasionally!
Yes …. having it tucked away behind the Paints is iffy … I think it’s often a quick Look For for principals: Yup, it’s there. Good to go!
Will be interesting what student teachers say.