My name is Michelle Koshka and I am currently in my 4th year of the Graduate Diploma in Religious Education (GDRE). I am a teacher and Learning Coach at St. Catherine Elementary/Junior High School in Edmonton. I graduated from the University of Alberta in 2002 with a major in English and a minor in Religious and Moral Education. I decided to take the GDRE as a means to pursue my interest in Religious Education at a graduate level. By taking the Administration concentration, I was able to take courses on Catholic leadership and I have had the opportunity to study the history of Catholic education and the challenges facing Catholic schools and leaders.
My experience at Newman Theological College has been one that has enriched me both intellectually and spiritually. It has provided me with the opportunity to learn, pray and journey with other students, professors, religious and clergy as well as colleagues from various schools and school districts.
As it states on the Edmonton Catholic Schools website, “All of the learning outcomes in the Program of Studies contain a religious dimension. It is the right, responsibility and privilege of educators in Catholic schools to bring to consciousness the divine presence that resides in what is learned.” My experience at Newman Theological College has equipped me with the knowledge and skills necessary to fully permeate my faith in every aspect of my teaching vocation. I am, indeed, privileged to be a student at this College and to be a part of this challenging and rewarding program.
Michelle Koshka, Teacher and Learning Coach at St. Catherine Elementary/Junior High School (G.D.R.E. program) current student
As a Catholic teacher in a Catholic school it is expected that one has a working understanding of the tenets of the faith. However, this is more difficult than one might assume. As a practicing Catholic and an accredited teacher I struggled with bridging the two aspects of my world. The GDRE program offered at Newman Theological College has given me the opportunity to partake in both professional and spiritual development. The GDRE program offers academic theological understandings on all matters of the Catholic faith while simultaneously building one’s spirituality. Partaking in the program has offered me the chance to become better versed in my faith; with this knowledge I have increased in confidence in sharing the faith with others, especially my students. I do not turn away from questions my students (or colleagues) ask about religion or God; rather I am excited to share with them what I have learned through the program.
The greatest joy I have experienced form the program is building my relationship with Jesus Christ! The more time I spend developing my understanding of the Catholic faith the clearer and more beautiful it becomes for me, building within me the desire to know more. Newman Theological College offers many blessings, from their learned and nurturing faculty to the opportunity to meet other students on a similar journey; we are all working toward building our faith through understanding.
Ryan O’ Gorman, Catholic School Teacher (G.D.R.E. program) current student