In today’s changing world it is easy to get discouraged as it seems the next generation of Christians are falling away faster then any other generation before them. Statistics tell us that an alarming 70% of young people are leaving or don’t attend church regularly after age 18-22. But I believe that this up and coming generation has a great opportunity to “Turn the world upside down”. Continue reading
It may seem that the average Christian student doesn’t make a difference in their school to influence others for Christ. I have often wondered that perhaps the reason it seems that way is because most students aren’t challenged to make a difference in their schools. Over the past 5 years I have started growing in my vision of what the Lord can do through a true student lead movement in the realm of schools, church, and local communities.
Something Needed to Change!
Last year (2014) I saw the Lord begin doing a work in my own heart in challenging the teens of our church to be a godly witness in their schools and with their friends. Most of the teens I teach are in public school, a few are taught in Christian School and home schooled. I put away the Sunday School curriculum, put away the student booklets, and decided instead of giving them a pre-made template of “Biblical advice”, that I needed to have a more personal and engaging time of teaching with them. I am not saying there is anything wrong with these books, in fact I think that much of the material is great, but a light bulb went off in my head when I saw that my students weren’t interacting, weren’t engaged, and after a few weeks of expounding on the same subject matter weren’t interested. You can only teach “How to find the will of God” for so many weeks before you lose a teenager’s interest. Something needed to change!
Just 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.