Roseline Joseph has taught kindergarten at St. Hyacinth Academy, San Jacinto, for a year and a half. Interestingly enough, Joseph is relatively new to America – she immigrated here five years ago from her home country of Pakistan, where she was a teacher and school administrator for 27 years. In Pakistan, a majority Muslim country, she mainly taught at Catholic schools, although she spent some time at a Muslim school as well.
As part of our series on Catholic school teachers in the Diocese, Joseph sat down with the BYTE to tell us a little about herself and how she has been adjusting to her new country and to teaching at St. Hyacinth Academy.
BYTE: It must be a pretty big change coming to a different country.
Joseph: It’s totally different, like the opposite. My country is just the opposite of what I’m living here now. We (Catholics) are considered minorities over there; but thanks to God we have missionary schools over there. So we go to the missionary schools. That’s where we learn the faith over there.
BYTE: What would be some of the differences that you’ve noticed in teaching over there compared to teaching over here?
Joseph: The difference is not that much. Because you know, the missionaries, they give us a syllabus that is British. The government schools over there, that belongs to the government, so they’re totally, entirely Islamic, but for the Catholic schools over there, it’s basically like over here. So when I was hired over here and I started working, I found the same thing.
BYTE: You’re teaching kindergarten here, right? What grades did you teach over there?
Joseph: Yes, I’m teaching kindergarten. Well, I have 10 years of experience being the preschool teacher (in Pakistan), and also the coordinator of the department. And then after that ... I ended up being a principal of Muslim school, a high school, for one year. But I’ve been a teacher from the nursery ages up to high school.
BYTE: So what made you want to go into teaching in the first place, back in Pakistan? Was it something you were always interested in growing up?
Joseph: My passion is teaching, honestly speaking. I love teaching. I was so many times sent to nursing school. But it was not my thing, I couldn’t do that. So I decided I want to be a teacher, because I love being with children. I love the small ones, the younger ones. I like teaching them, I like playing with them. I like their ideas, their minds and their innocence.
BYTE: What would you say have been some challenges you’ve had to face while teaching, here or in Pakistan?
Joseph: In my country, it was all the Islamic rules and the discrimination. Being a Christian teacher sometimes used to be difficult.
And then here, I don’t have any barriers, but I was a bit hesitant to start working from Pakistan coming to the U.S.A. I mean, that was something that you fantasize, coming to America. And then I was thinking, I don’t know if they will accept me or not (at the new school). But the way it happened, I didn’t even see a difference. It was like I just flowed into the system over here. And all the staff and everybody was very welcoming, and they were very supportive and they helped me ... everybody’s very kind and supportive, really. And I’m having a ball of a time teaching also and enjoying everything. I’m happy here, thank God.
BYTE: Last question, do you have a favorite saint or Bible verse that you want to share?
Joseph: When Jesus said, “Let all the children come to me.” That’s the thing I love the most. And another one that goes hand-in-hand, when they wanted to stone the woman who had committed adultery, “Let the one without sin cast the first stone,” and it says, “They all started leaving starting from the elders.”