An Honest Review of the Book: Christian Teachers in Public Schools

9780834128644_p0_v1_s260x420Just this week I finished the book: Christian Teachers in Public Schools: 13 Essentials for the Classroom. While the focus of this book is for teachers, as a parent of a public school child, I appreciated the insight into what challenges a Christian Public School teacher faces and what opportunities there are to shine for Christ.

The author was very honest with the struggles that she faces as a teacher and finding way to witness for Christ. She doesn’t try to make you believe that being a Christian in a Public School is easy, but make you realize it isn’t as impossible as some people make it out to be. The author included a lot of personal material in there: letters from students, writing prompts from students, personally stories, and lessons learned from the classroom.

So just to highlight what I got from the book, here are some things that really stuck out to me.

1) Materials from students

If the author had tried to make it seem like an easy task to be a Christian teaching in the Public School then she would have included all the heart touching perfect stories that come from some of her students. Instead she wanted you to see the reality of why there needs to be Christians both teaching and learning in the public school by including letters and paper from some of her students. Some of the papers were written by students who came from homes filled with drug and violence and the influence that a Christian teacher had on their lives. One story that stuck out in my mind was about a student who had no desire to do any work whatsoever and what she was able to do to convince him to actually get engaged in doing his school work.

2) Personal stories and stuggles

While not everyone will always be interested in knowing someones personal stories or struggles, I believe the author did a good job connecting with the reader with her personal tidbits. At one point she gave a personal story about how she was ready to just give up and quit at one particular school, but God sent a student into her class who really didn’t even belong in her class to answer a writing prompt “The worst thing a teacher could do”. A lot of students gave answers like these: Give homework on the weekend, make us do school work, give to many assignments, ECT. But when this student raised his hand he said, “The worst thing a teacher could do is quit.” The author acknowledged that that one boys answer completely changed her attitude and she decided she could not quit.

3) Little short devotions in every chapter

A unique aspect of this book was the author included a little devotional from a fellow teacher at the end of each chapter that helped re-enforce the purpose of the chapter. Sometimes the devotions really hit home for me, making those chapters stand out above others in my mind.

This book was a blessing to me, I was actually kind of sad to see it end as I am sure there are probably more than 13 life lessons that she has learned from teaching, but the 13 essentials she gave were excellent and very insightful to the ministry of being a Christian Public School Teacher. No matter if you are a parent of public school children, a teacher, or even a substitute (like myself), this book would be a great read for you.

An Honest Review of the Movie: Already Gone

Already GoneI have owned the film “Already Gone: Why Your Kids Will Quit Church and What You Can Do to Stop It” for several years now. I have also shown this film several times to various groups and have watched it several times my self. I know that some feel that I gave the film “IndoctriNation” a very hard review, but I also gave that film a very honest review from my stand point. I also will give a very honest review of this film. So here are several observations from this film:

1. The percentage of “Christians” in public schools

I appreciate that when they had presented their research and found that 95% of Christian families that they polled said that their children are in public schools, that they did not say that it was 95% of Christians as a whole. They never made the assumption that just because of the thousands of Christians that the polled, that it would indicate that 95% of all the Christians in the nation send their children to the public schools. They know that in order to find a true and accurate percentage you would then need to poll the majority of the 75% of people who claim to be Christians. In their research they also did a good job of narrowing it down to a select group of conservative churches.

2. The presenting of the problem

I also appreciate greatly how Ken Ham goes to present the problem of why we are losing our children. He builds a very strong case, and he tells us plainly what errors are taught in the realm of education. However, when he presents the problem, he doesn’t just assume it is in the public schools that the problem exists. He shows how the problem also exists in youth groups, churches, Sunday school classes, Christian schools, and at home. He understands that there is a deeper problem than just blaming it all on a select group of educators.

3. The answer to the problem

Ken Ham in this film does an excellent job presenting the case that Churches, families, Sunday school teachers, and Pastors need to be teaching the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. They need to do more than just preach about salvation, but also need to teach how Genesis 1-11 is foundational to the rest of the Bible and how we find all the principles that pertain to the Christian life in those first 11 chapters of the Bible. He shows that if we fail to teach Creation as the Bible teaches it, then it under minds the rest of the Bible, and that is a “BIG” reason why we are losing so many from our churches today. He doesn’t try to pit the blame on the public schools, but encourages Churches and Families, that no matter what school a child goes to, that THEY are ultimately responsible for teaching their children what the Bible says about creation, death and suffering, sin, ECT. THEY are responsible for teaching children how to give an answer to the science teacher, be it in a Christian School or Public School, that teaches contrary to the Word of God.

4. The acknowledgment of Christian influence in Public Schools

One of the biggest things that I appreciate about this film is the acknowledgement that Ken Ham makes that there are Christian Teachers and Christian Students who are serving as missionaries to those in the Public School. Some people will throw out the “Salt and Light” argument, and say that Christians need to make a mass exodus from the Public School system as a whole, but this film while it does not urge more Christians to go into the public schools as missionaries, it also does not attack those who have been placed in the Public schools by the leading of God.

Conclusion:

I feel like this film, while it focuses on a very negative topic, does a good job of pointing our eyes to a brighter tomorrow if we get back to the foundation of the Bible. Many families and churches have gotten so off based. The blame can not be put on the public school as a whole, because the truth is, if Churches had been doing their job teaching the Bible as true History, true Science, true biology, and as the true directive for life, rather than constantly under minding it, then we would not find Christianity in the state it is in today.

While over all I think this film gives a lot of great tools for being a testimony, there are still some things that I wish the film would have given more insight to. 1) While it does a good job of telling students that they can get the answers from God’s Word, I still would like to see a film that gives instruction to students on ways they can be able to present those answers in the school. 2) As a former public school teacher himself, I wish Ken Ham would have also address the way that Christian teachers in Public Schools can present a Biblical worldview while still abiding by the set rules.

Recommended Reading

The night before I took Aric to his first day of school I posted on my Facebook account this statement, “So tomorrow marks the first day of Aric’s life at school. We have chosen to send him to our local public school. Some may think that this is a mistake, but in the end I answer to the Lord, and He has clearly guided us to this choice. I am looking forward to not only the impact that Aric can make at his school, but also the godly impact that we can make as parents.”

When we considered sending Aric to a Public School, there were some very well-meaning people who told us that we were making a mistake for sending him to a Government Institution. While it may be someone’s conviction that they would not send their children to a public school, to say it is a wrong choice for another parent is to cross a line that is not yours to cross. My wife and I have been convinced by the Lord, that at this time in our children’s lives, that the public school is what the Lord has set for our children to be a part of.

I am the kind of person that get’s easily excited or nervous, or both, and when I do so I have trouble either falling asleep, staying asleep or both. The night before Aric’s first day of School, I had trouble falling asleep. The morning of Aric’s first day of school I had trouble staying asleep, in fact I woke up at 5:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I checked my FB, and saw I had received a message from a friend of mine with whom I went to college. He had sent me an encouraging note, and an article on why he has chosen to put his children into public school.

You can read his article here: http://baptistcitizen.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/we-put-our-children-in-the-public-school/

It is a longer article, but if you take an opportunity I believe you will be blessed. When you take opportunity to read it, leave your comments below.

Recommended Resource

images      Knowing that Aric would be starting school this year, we had a lot to consider. We started at home last year by teaching him the typical pre-school things like the alphabet, counting, and spelling his name. We had strongly contemplated home schooling him using an online public school curriculum called k12, we looked into a few options of Christian schools in the area, and finally thought about sending him to a local public school.

Before we could make a final decision we spent much time seeking the direction of God. Some might would say that, since we are Christians and since my wife and I serve in ministry, that there are only two options that we had, to home school him using a “Christian” curriculum or to send him to a Christian school, but this is just not the case. Every child is different, every child has different strengths and weaknesses, and every family must follow the Lord’s leading completely. Early into this process I was leaning strongly toward the public home schooling program, as this would allow us to monitor what he was being taught, and would allow us to adapt the material into a worldview that we embrace.

We continued to pray and watch as Aric’s personality developed, as this would play an important roll into how he would do in different school settings. After months of prayer and watching him grow, we felt like the Lord had given us the wisdom to know that he would do better in a classroom setting, interacting with other children his age. We also felt at peace that God would be pleased with us enrolling him in a Public School.

In preparation for the 2013 school year, which started today, my wife and I began reading a book entitled Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public School. This was an inside look of a Christian family whose children have grown and thrived not only academically but spiritually in a Public School. They give excellent advice on what to do to get involved with your children and that even if your child is in Public School, that you as a parent are still responsible for teaching your child what you believe and why you believe it.

If you are considering placing your child in a public school, or your child is already in public school, I would highly recommend that this book be read and added to your library. It is available in paperback and on Amazon Kindle. You will find a link to it below.

Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public School

Do you have any resources that you would highly recommend as being a help to those who’s Christian children are attending a public school?

The Purpose of My Blog

As a Christian parent and Youth Pastor, I only want what is best for my children when it comes to education. Some would question this for the simple reason of my decision to allow my child to go to a Public Education Institute. It is your right to judge me on that if you wish, however my wife and I have spent much time seeking the Lord’s direction, when it comes to the education of our children, and I will give an account to Him and not you when it comes to how my children have been educated.

I do not believe that the road of education that we have chose for our children is the road that every parent will feel led to go, nor do I believe that every child has been given the ability to thrive in a Public School setting, and that is why it is so very important to seek God’s face when it comes to choosing what type of education your children will receive.

We live in a world where fellow Christians will criticize and self-righteously proclaim that sending a child to a public school is sin or unwise, but I believe that there needs to be a voice of reason and a voice of encouragement to those of us who have been lead by the Lord to educate our children through our local public schools.

My hope is that this blog will be a place of sharing advice and encouragement with fellow Christian Parents with public school children. Just because I am speaking from the platform of Children in Public School, doesn’t mean that any advice shared here will be exclusively for Public Education children, but can be practical advice for all platforms of education. I hope you will follow and chime in!