Monday, May 18, 2015

Jim Wolfe, High School Teacher

I have to admit that this has been a very strange year with all the happenings we have experienced.  We have gone through a lot of happiness, sadness, turmoil and change.  
I have always been told and have read that self-reflection is an important part of our professional development and want to throw in that I appreciate the time administration has given to us on this point. As I reflect on this year, I need to keep in mind what has worked in the past, toss the failures, and implement new strategies and approaches for next year.  I need to accept the changes that will occur and determine how I can best adapt and be a significant part in them.  I need to recharge!!
I need to ask myself the following:
  • Did I achieve my goals for this year? Why or why not?
  • What were my greatest obstacles this year?
  • What was my biggest success? My biggest failure?
  • Were there any lessons or units that fell flat and need to be revamped?
  • Were there any lessons or units that really engaged my students?
  • Did I enjoy myself this year? If not, what can I change in the year to come to make teaching more enjoyable?
  • Do I have the resources I need? If not, what can I do to get them for next year?
  • Did I have a good relationship with my students this year? Why or why not?
  • Are there new technologies that I could adopt next year to make teaching easier and more enjoyable or better engage my students?
  • Did I spend enough time in prayer and reading the word of God?
These are things I will carry into the summer and think about for next year.  It seems that our profession is one of never ending learning, struggles and, hopefully, good times.  Sometimes we are up and sometimes we are down.  But no matter what the case, we must never let our thoughts drift from God.  It is he who gives us the strength, endurance and, I hope, a lot of wisdom. 
Two verses (out of many) that have helped me this year are:

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22-23)

Have a great summer everyone.  Wherever you may be or whatever you may be doing next year may it be pleasing to you and to the Lord.  I wish all of you nothing but the best. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Message from Keith de Laet, Sixth Grade Teacher

Martin Luther

We closed out last week's lesson in world history with a look at Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.  Our students learned, and many of you will recall, that Martin Luther had a problem with the idea that human sin  could be forgiven through the payment of a fee, and then his idea expanded into his belief that humans have no authority to forgive sin at all.  For Luther, Christ alone forgives sin and we receive Christ's forgiveness only through faith.  The death of Jesus provides our forgiveness and we receive that forgiveness by faith.

This idea that we are saved by God's grace alone and that we receive it through faith alone is central to the belief of many Christians today.  I believe, however, that this simple explanation of salvation through faith may weaken the definition of faith, and thereby the power and effect that it has on those who place their faith in Christ.  While "Faith" may be a simple word to understand, to Luther it was anything but simple in effect.  Luther stated that,

"Faith, however, is a divine work in us.  It changes us and makes us to be born anew of God (John 1:1); it kills the old Adam and makes altogether different men, in heart and spirit and mind and powers, and it brings with it the Holy Ghost.  Oh, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith; and so it is impossible for it not to do good works incessantly.  It does not ask whether there are good works to do, but before the question rises; it has already done them, and is always at the doing of them.  He who does not these works is a faithless man.  He gropes and looks about after faith and good works, and knows neither what faith is nor what good works are, though he talks and talks, with many words, about faith and good works."   Martin Luther - Introduction to the Commentary on Romans.

To Luther, "Faith" is more than a statement of belief in Christ.  It is a force so powerful that it changes one's entire view of the world and our role in it.  It connects us to Christ in a way that changes our thoughts, values, beliefs, and actions.  It resets our priorities moving away from a self-centered life and toward a life focused on thoughts and ways of God himself.  For most people, these changes do not happen all at once, but they do happen as we walk with Christ and deepen our relationship with him.

I also believe that this is the true, defining, value of a Christian education.  While there are other benefits to be sure; smaller classes, greater parent input, and countless others, it is the life changing encounter with Jesus that cannot be replicated in other, traditional, methods of education.  Thank you for allowing us to partner with you in this very important decision!