I am beginning my 23rd year as a teacher in Christian education. I have made lots of teacher friends over the years in every arena: public, private and homeschool. I am thankful for all of them. My first principal, Frank Webb, used to say that education doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Somebody’s values are going to be taught. Somebody’s values are going to be caught. Those words still resonate with me now.
I’ve been asked over the years to think a lot about Christian worldview . . . defining, interpreting, integrating. I’ve been tasked with incorporating that worldview into daily lesson plans, curriculum guides, course maps, and a variety of different forms of documentation. As “not fun” as these parts of the job can sometimes be, I have grown to see their significance. They provide necessary accountability and most importantly, they are a road map to institutional memory.
However, Christianity is not a construct. It is a dynamic, breathing thing. I have always struggled somewhere with the idea that we “apply” Christian worldview or “treat” a lesson like we would a wooden fence. In fact, I have come to believe it is the most dangerous thing we can do in a Christian school. Students eventually derive from this practice that Christianity is merely a template for life instead of actual life. The “insert verse here” method of integration does little more than provide the box for our students to store their narrow spiritual understanding. They can spend years languishing in the shallows, sipping lukewarm water while slowly forgetting what it ever felt like to be thirsty.
I will always believe that the most valuable representation of Christian worldview in the classroom is best integrated by authentic, Christian teachers. Not technology. Not curriculum. Not programming. Messy human beings who are willing to be vulnerable and transparent; who demonstrate what a daily faith looks like and what ultimately happens when the unpredictability of life meets a sovereign God and His divine promise. I am praying for all my Christian teacher friends this year, wherever you are planted. May the relationships we build with our students produce rich conversations and model a life captured by the invincibility of Jesus Christ.