Unlike most schools, where the priority is to successfully deliver content to students, a Christian school functions with a philosophy aiming to meet the needs of children through faith in Jesus Christ. As an aspiring elementary teacher, I find myself pursuing a career in the Christian school system, and my philosophy entails several components.
I feel compelled, to carry on the tradition of applying learning with faith. Having experienced a Christian faith based education first hand, I now realize the importance it played on my personal development, my relationships and my family. The Church has given me the sense of belonging, the hope and strength I need in my life. Part of my job as an educator is to guide children to build a relationship with Jesus Christ. We need to continually improve our relationship with God and we are reminded as such every time we worry about life’s events and tragedies.
We are surrounded by a society falling away from faith and actually moving against it. We are exposed to examples of this every day with protests, marches and rallies. There is no question that the western world as we know it was created by our like minded Christian forefathers who, through sacrifice, created the faith based culture we know as Christianity. As an educator in a Christian school, I believe that I have a gift, and that is the ability to participate in the mission of teaching students to live knowingly as children of God, and to lead by example. These values should be instilled not only within the walls of the school, but for each student to carry with them through their lifetime. I personally cannot imagine what life would be like without faith and the concept of God and Heaven.
God clashes with science on a daily basis in our modern culture. Everywhere we look we are reminded that there are those who challenge the Church and its teachings. Through free speech, our society has allowed scientists and public figures to make this attack on faith. If children are exposed to this without reassuring role models within their school, then they risk losing their trust in God. Science can be taught without the disbelief and misunderstanding of religion, and bringing this awareness into a Christian classroom is critical for students to understand. Arguments against Christian education should make us ask ourselves a number of rhetorical questions:
- Are we not surrounded by examples of God’s greatness every day?
- And Christian Scientist, Blaise Pascal’s most obvious question; “Should one not believe… just in case?”
As my grandfather would say, “there are no atheists in foxholes”.
Like Peter in the courtyard, we are being tested, and at a time when Christianity as a whole is doubted by an exceedingly faithless society, we, as educators, need to remain vigilant in our determination to grow and spread our faith.
Just like education involves a high level of inter-personal relationships between teacher and student, a Christian education combines knowledge and skills with an overall personal development rooted in Christian values. I truly believe that one of my many purposes, as an educator is to teach in a Christian school where I can provide religious perspectives in the learning process and in all the activities of the school in which staff and students engage.
I have shared in previous blog posts that I am now a teacher in a grade 1 class at a Catholic School. Prior to this, I was interning in many classrooms in public schools. I’ve always had a Christian background and beliefs but I never really, fully realized how important working in a Catholic or Christian school would be to me. I knew my calling was to teach young children but the Christian piece was never super necessary. Anyways, it was not until I had a particular interaction with a few students in a public school that I felt my purpose had been more specified.
I was interning in a Kindergarten class while I was in University. I attended a public university in a state that often seemed quite ungodly, but that’s beside the point. Education was solely based on facts, research, varies types of teaching strategies, kinds of lighting and seating… I learned nothing about how to teach the Christian faith because I simply just did not attend a Christian College. Anyways, one day in my Kindergarten internship, I overheard two students talking but didn’t think much of it. I noticed one of them started to look displeased and confused. The other was saying something that clearly made him feel like he needed to defend himself. He started to look flustered… Suddenly the student who was upset came up to me and said, “Jordan thinks that God isn’t real”. I will never forget this exact interaction. Because I was finishing up with my degree in education, I had supervisors who would watch and evaluate me. I just looked around and felt so hopeless. I was in a public school; I attended a University that never spoke of God. In a public elementary school, it is not at all my job to speak of religion to any child. All I could do in this situation was say to the boy, “I’m sorry that he said that, but we can’t talk about this kind of thing at school”.
Through the arguments between kids, the fights I have broken up, the lessons that never worked out, the stress and the frustration that comes with teaching… This was one of the hardest scenarios I had faced as an educator. All I knew was that I never wanted to be in that scenario again. I suddenly felt like God needed me to be the best educator I could be and that would require me to teach the “whole child”. By doing this, they deserve to have someone to teach them the truth about our Saviour. To teach the whole child, they must know that they were created in God’s image, they are loved, they can express gratitude, there is eternal life in Heaven, they can speak to the departed… The list goes on. Now, I choose to wear God the Father Apparel because it’s the perfect way to show your faith without feeling like you’re preaching.
I felt restricted in this particular professional situation, and there are many cases in a Christians life where they may feel like they don’t have the ability to speak their truth about God. By wearing God the Father Apparel this worry is taken away. It’s just the perfect balance between being proud of your faith yet being subtle about it. I know that by wearing the apparel from this brand, I have had conversations started with adults. I can’t help but wonder what could come of a discussion with a child who reads the words
“God the Father” across my chest.