Prayers or have silence in class

By Jessica Marrella
September 18, 2003

Ryan Norris

“Let’s bow our heads and pray.” This marks the beginning of my class every Monday and Wednesday morning.

My teacher asks everyone to bow his or her head and recites a prayer. I obediently make the sign of the cross, bow my head, pray and make the sign of the cross once again. This is nothing out of the ordinary for me because of my Catholic background. Usually, though, I am at the dinner table or at church, not in a classroom.

One day I decided to take a peek at what other students do during this time. There is a wide range in activities. Some check their cell phones turning them on silent. Others quickly finish up homework. My favorite are the students that bow their heads and take the opportunity to doze just a little longer. Of course, there are the students that stumble in late and miss the prayer altogether.

Are these activities silent objections or do the students simply not care?

On the first day of class I was surprised by the idea of a prayer. Even though Cabrini is a Catholic college, no other teacher that I have had has led a prayer in their classroom. Not even in my religion class. At first I thought that the teacher was saying a prayer because it was the first day of class. I thought that perhaps it was motivation for the class, the teacher included, to make it through the semester. Or maybe the prayer was a spiritual beginning and fresh start. I quickly realized, however, that praying would become a Monday and Wednesday custom for me.

I am not in objection to saying a prayer to begin class. I think that it is relaxing and I feel that it allows the mind to clear and prepare for class.

But what about students who don’t agree with saying a prayer? They may assume, as I did, that everyone is fine with it since there doesn’t seem to be any disagreements. When I thought of this is when I realized that not everyone might be as comfortable with prayer as I am.

For this reason I feel that the recited prayer should perhaps be changed to a moment of silence if it seems as though any student is uncomfortable. A moment of silence will still allow students those few extra seconds to calm down and mentally prepare for class. Students could do as they please with the little bit of extra time. They could pray if they wanted to, or just enjoy the silence or even catch some extra Z’s.

Posted to the web by Ryan Norris

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Jessica Marrella

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