TOB Campus 2022-23: Speaks to the Hearts of Teachers Across the Country
August 12, 2022
Our Director of TOB Campus, D.J. Hueneman elaborates on the launch of TOB Campus 2022-23, a teacher & staff formation annual subscription for schools, to ignite a renewed love for educating Catholic students & strengthen the teachers’ relationship with Jesus Christ , one another, & ultimately becoming “TOB witnesses” inspiring a Biblical worldview.
Learn more & view a 1-minute sneak-peek into Session 1 of 9 group staff formation discussions offered this year to schools enrolling as a TOB Campus.
Q: Why is TOB Campus 2022-23 an annual subscription this year?
A: Ruah Woods Institute decided on a subscription model because there’s a desperate need for continuous formation for educators. It is one of the most frequent requests we have received from teachers. I will never forget, when I was facilitating a teacher training day, there was a teacher who approached me & I asked her how her year was going. She answered, “ At our school the administration provides some really great in-services, but these in-services are always because we need to do some initiative or meet some new requirement.” “But,” she lamented, “there’s never an in-service that’s just for us, for our support, for our formation as Catholic teachers.”
In response to that need expressed by many of our teachers, we have developed TOB Campus 2022-23, which is specifically designed to support teachers, to fill them up, something that they can just show up to & it doesn’t require a whole bunch of prep work, but allows them time to deepen their faith, to enrich their relationships with one another, & to strengthen their knowledge of the beauty & meaning of the Catholic Church’s teachings, especially with regards to the human person. Our subscription model provides new content that’s released each month & is a great way to just be on this journey of continuous formation together as they partner with us at the Ruah Woods Institute.
Q: What’s been the response of Catholic schools so far to this continuous teacher formation model?
A: Schools that we have approached about becoming a TOB Campus this fall have usually been apprehensive when they hear that they’re going to be doing ”another thing.” However, we personally meet with each one of the schools & once they realize that we’ve done all of the prep work for them by creating these great formation sessions, they breathe a sigh of relief. Then we hear, “This is exactly what we have needed!”
In fact, we’ve had several dioceses who attempted to do something like this for the past several years on their own & it’s been a major undertaking which required a lot of man-hours to create content. But here at the Ruah Woods Institute we are a not-for-profit agency & are specifically here to support teachers & have been listening to them & responding in a way that will help them. So our teacher formation process comes from the request of schools that tell us, “We need ongoing formation in human anthropology. We need to ensure that our educators & administrators have a Christian worldview!” So now we’ve done the legwork for them & all they need to do is make this their own through our continual staff formation sessions. They can receive this Biblical/sacramental lens, learning what it means to be a human person, & then this worldview spreads through the entire school from the administrators & teachers to the students, to parents. We have 42 schools from coast-to-coast across the U.S. who have already signed up so far to begin this fall.
Q: Why would a Catholic School want to subscribe to be a TOB Campus?
A: Well, I’ve already mentioned that teachers are in desperate need of formation especially following these COVID years. Once we started back meeting with teachers in person, it was almost as if we needed a PTSD pre-session because they’ve had to deal with so much recently including the turbulent culture rooted in pervasive lies about the dignity & identity of the human person. These teachers are even more in need of really intense Catholic formation & understanding because they’re being faced with difficult questions that weren’t being proposed by their students & coworkers even just ten years ago. So now these questions are popping up at earlier & earlier ages & that teacher might be the only representative of the Catholic faith that a parent or a student has in their life. Therefore, it’s imperative that they are well-formed in the faith, that they have a strong relationship with Jesus Christ & that they have some enriching time set aside to help avoid burnout, as well as grow in their relationships with their coworkers.
Q: What is included for the teachers & staff at an enrolled TOB Campus 2022-23 School?
A: First of all we provide nine expertly designed group formation sessions available each year starting this fall with an optional monthly live Round Table discussion with other TOB Campus school ambassadors across the country facilitated by Ruah Woods. A TOB Campus subscription also includes one intensive special topics course per year to learn about a very hot button topic through the lens of Theology of the Body from experts in the chosen field. Schools will also have access to a three-part Introduction to Theology of the Body Course, plus each school will have their own personal mentor from the Ruah Woods Institute’s staff. We partner with them to equip catechists on site instead of replacing catechists from afar.
Also some nice swag is included like an 8’ x 4‘ outdoor/indoor vinyl banner announcing “We are a TOB Campus. A community of persons where everybody is seen as a gift.” That banner is like a $175 value & we send it for free to the schools who sign-up for an annual TOB Campus subscription beginning this fall. We also have Monthly TOB Saint Reflections & are working on posters & TOB mass intentions to roll out as the year progresses.
Q: How does this TOB Campus offering compliment Ruah Woods’ K to 12 Theology of the Body curriculum?
A: Our curriculum is an amazing tool, but teachers truly being TOB witnesses, witnesses to Christ’s teachings are the impetus needed to change the world from a culture of death into a culture of life & authentic love, to love as God loves. This reminds me of when I was at the fire department as a new fire fighter, & our officers would ask us, “What is the most important tool on the fire truck?” And this was kind of a trick question because if you would answer with some specific tool, any tool, they would come back with the answer, “No! The most important tool is not a tool at all, it’s actually a well-trained firefighter!” And so when it comes to education, one may have all of these tools at your behest, but even the greatest tool isn’t going to make a difference if someone doesn’t have a faith life. If they don’t have this Catholic worldview & this hasn’t deeply penetrated their hearts. And so that’s the aim with our beautiful K-12 Theology of the Body curriculum. It isn’t to pass on a bunch of facts or rules to be memorized by or imposed on to the students, it really is an invitation to instill this Catholic worldview. An invitation to understanding God’s ineffable love for them & the knowledge that He has a plan & purpose for an abundant, fulfilling life for each unique & unrepeatable human person.
The primary role of educators & catechists is to put people in touch with, in communion & intimacy with Jesus Christ. This is incredibly difficult to do if the teachers don’t first have this Biblical worldview & they don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ. So that’s the goal of TOB Campus, to lay the foundation for teachers, so that they can be filled up & then they can give to all those with whom they work & teach from an abundant overflow.
Q: What’s the best way to find out more & subscribe as a TOB Campus?
A: We have a webpage dedicated to becoming a TOB Campus which includes a lot of what we have talked about, plus annual subscription rates that are based on school enrollment. It is of course important to start teaching our Theology of the Body curriculum in every grade level as the curriculum itself has a major impact on the teacher as they learn it & teach it. Many teachers have reported that their love for teaching has been reignited through our curriculum & learning more about God’s beautiful plan for the human person that is called TOB.
But by all means, please reach out to me, D.J. Hueneman at Ruah Woods Institute via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 513-407-8672. Please know that we pray for our Catholic school teachers, administrators & students daily. Please pray for us & our mighty mission to roll this out to all Catholic schools in the U.S. & beyond.
One-minute sneak-peek at the first monthly TOB Campus staff formation session:
Interview Conducted & Written by,
Evie Estes, Production Manager, Editor, Sales & Site Support
for Ruah Woods Institute