Why a Christian school? Christian Teachers.
Christian Schools can be a huge investment for families, so how can we be confident in our decision to send our child to one?
As a parent, I have personally chosen to send my children to a Christian School – but the reasons for my decision are not necessarily part of the commonplace conversation among most of the parent community.
My hope as a parent is that my children will be cared for holistically. I want someone to see my child as more than just “another” student. I did not raise an institutional “number” to be graded by an academic “letter.” I raised an air-breathing, heart-beating, dreaming, thoughtful and creative human being who I hope can be nurtured into becoming a “half-decent adult”.
My child’s education is one of the early steps in that journey. The questions then begs – who holds the keys to helping raise my beautiful little humans into “half-decent adults”?
It is the humans they interact with every day. It is the most important resource in every classroom across the globe. The teachers.
I need to be careful here to make sure I’m not blowing my own horn – as not only am I parent who sends my children to a Christian school, but I am also a Christian teacher.
As a teacher, I see the scope of influence that I have over a classroom of children. Every day, every term, every year. I see how my words, my lessons, my heart, and my strange idiosyncrasies influence children whether I like it or not. The good and the bad are absorbed unsuspectingly, in amongst the History, Science, Numeracy and Literacy Lessons.
So, the question I ask as a parent sending my little human into the big world of education is: what kind of adults will they interact with?
Likewise, on the flip side, as a teacher I ask myself: what kind of adult am I modelling to these children?
The answer, for me, has landed in Christian Schools, and this is why.
- Christian-based values
Jesus taught many things in Scripture but some of the key values he spoke on were grace, hope, love, justice, joy and peace. Not only are these teachings important for Christians (including Christian teachers) to adopt and practice, they are the foundational values that the education system was originally built on. In the context of a classroom, these values become the “lens” through which all lessons are taught. While teaching a fractions lesson, a teacher can look at the importance of ‘justice’ simply by discussing how to share equally, and not selfishly.
Administering a culture of ‘peace’ in the classroom encourages children to seek positive resolutions, rather than damaging relationships with negativity and conflict.
Christian teachers treasure these teachings, and cannot help but teach lessons through a filter of their beliefs – just as all of us do.
A Christian teacher doesn’t wait for a “values lesson” to express their morality. It oozes into every lesson as they believe it is vitally important for people to uphold their values in all parts of their life.
- Christian-based perspective
Christian teachers believe that every person has value and purpose, and that they were born with unique talents and skills. This perspective drives the teacher as they attend class each day. It holds a personal truth for the educator, believing that they, themselves, are meant to be in the classroom, engaging with the student. It is the most beautiful view an educator can take when connecting with a student. A teacher cannot predict the future, but they can recognise it in a student, and carefully encourage and extract the unique qualities through their interactions.
Most of us carry a fond memory of a teacher who believed in us. A Christian teacher, believes in every student, because it is ingrained into their very belief system.
- Christian-based growth
It has to be mentioned that Christian teachers are not perfect, but that is what makes them ideal for the classroom. Learning is a process that requires humility to admit that you are not faultless, and that you require further improvement. The Christian belief is founded on the idea that all humans have fallen short of perfect and that we need help.
This process plays on a Christian teacher’s mind every day, as they continue to journey toward perfection, knowing it is a lifetime voyage. Consider the great weight of empathy a Christian teacher has toward a student who is also on the same journey. Teaching isn’t about being ‘perfect’ and communicating perfection. It is about admitting you’re not perfect and sharing your ‘tips’ on how to journey in the right direction. Mistakes are not the opposite of success – they are the stepping stones toward it.
There are many good teachers who have graduated from university with new ideas and programs. However, before they come into contact with our children we, as parents, are gambling as to what values will be transferred across in the classroom. If you want to feel safer about who is involved in the development of your child then look into the truths of the Christian belief, and feel assured in the teachers who hold onto them. You’ll end up finding a valuable resource that expresses love, forgiveness and a strong sense of purpose into the life of your little human and you can rest easy knowing that through a resource-enriched education, your child hasn’t been lost in a system.
by Justin Veart, Year 6 Teacher