4:30am- the alarm clock goes off, and I hit the ground running, trying my best to be out the door by 6:00am, to be to school by 6:30am, and ready for the day and greeting my students by 7:00am.
For many school administrators, principals, and educators, this schedule is all too familiar. With a schedule like that, why do we do what we do, and why is Christian education so vital for children growing up in today’s world? A better question is: What is the educational philosophy of our schools, and what are we doing in the early years to produce graduates that are spiritually, academically, and physically prepared to navigate the path of life?
The primary goal of Christian education is to teach children that God is the center of every life and academic endeavor. As Christian educators we are being used by God to equip our students with the tools necessary to be the servant God has called them to be and help them wholeheartedly embrace that calling. Isaiah 55:11 says, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Therefore, it is our responsibility to God and the families we serve to be daily filling our own hearts with the truth of God’s word so we ourselves are equipped to teach accordingly.
A recent article on teach4theheart.com says, “The main purpose of Christian education should be to intentionally disciple students…using every opportunity to speak Biblical truth into students’ lives and help them become more like Christ.” The truth of God’s word should saturate every area of every classroom in our schools. Most Christian schools use a combination of Christian and secular curriculum, but spiritual application can be made in math class just as easily as it can be in Science. I have had the privilege to teach preschool in a Christian school for the past nine years. Even my three and four-year-old students soak in the Biblical truths I am able to teach them in every area of our day. Linda Kardamis writes, “The public school system has an agenda. The subtle teaching of humanism, socialism, and progressivism is dangerously persuasive to impressionable children and teens. Christian schools should not just be the absence of wrong philosophies. They should instead be the infusion of truth into every aspect of the day.”
The idea that the Christian school is an extension of the home is not a new concept. In fact, in almost every Christian school mission statement it is either stated directly or implied. If we are honest, though, there is a shift happening that many families in our schools are either unbelievers, unchurched, or complacent when it comes to their faith. Christian educators and administrators now have the unique opportunity to minister to parents and caregivers just as much as they do to their students every day. As each new school year begins you never know the life circumstances that are going to walk into your school and classrooms throughout any given day.
So how do we navigate our lives as Christian teachers and administrators to fulfill the mission of Christian education? Teach4theheart.com gives a list of 10 truths for Christian teachers:
1. Have a strong sense of mission
2. Strive for excellence in everything
3. Love our students
4. Teach for the heart, not just right behavior
5. Be humble and real
6. Encourage and edify those around us
7. Develop a strong relationship with God
8. Seek wisdom and truth
9. Trust God
10. Evidence the Fruit of the Spirit
Every teacher has had “that student” that is difficult to love. Sometimes you know what kind of day you’re going to have by the look on that child’s face when they come through the door in the morning. Showing grace and love to them above all else is sometimes what they need most, and often, that child wiggles their way into a soft place in my heart as God uses them to teach me things I might not have learned otherwise.
Christian education should focus on strong academics through the lens of the gospel. That is what graduates need as they step out into life: the ability to defend their faith and academic beliefs through the biblical truths they were taught from childhood. Therefore we, as school administrators and teachers, need to understand the immense opportunity God has given us to be salt and light to a generation that so desperately needs the Lord.