A Time To Teach The Curriculum

A Time To Break Down

“…A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up…” Ecclesiastes 3:3

Once again, my favorite Bible passage is on my mind. It applies to pretty much everything in God’s great plan. Today, I noticed that two wonderful acts, heal and build up, are prefaced by their dark counterpart, kill and break down. But I don’t think God favors killing and destruction, He is recognizing that to establish a good scenario that is pleasing to Him, the bad must be destroyed, burned out, scraped away, ruthlessly dismissed. We have an evil presence that is fully incorporated in our public schools and is poisoning our youth. It is the anti-Scriptural indoctrination that has stealthily crept into the curriculum and policies of even our grade schools.

With the exception of new teachers, who are simply trying to keep their sanity as they learn how to be a teacher, we know the corruption is there. Someone from the outside might hear this and become outraged that we are not already standing against it. But it is complicated, right? Unless you are exceptionally blessed to be in a public school where many are bold about their faith, it can seem like you are alone in your desire to protect the young souls in your care. Even though public schools started out using Scripture as the foundation of their lessons, today a public admission of Christian belief can alienate you from other teachers and bring on false accusations about your character and level of care for your students. In some cases it can even result in a loss of employment. I get it. No one wants to be disliked and mocked, and losing income can be a frightening concept.

But I have a proposal. I propose that every Christian teacher decide right now, this very minute, to say no to all curriculum and policy in their school that is anti-Scriptural and dangerous for the souls of our youth. I think…no, I know this is not an impossible fight to win. We CAN have Christian values in our schools again. We CAN have God as the foundation for our students. It is not impossible! Would it make a difference in your level of confidence and bravery if you had an army of teachers, hundreds or even thousands, by your side? Imagine, crowds of Christian teachers standing firmly together arm in arm to stand up for the spiritual health of our precious students.

Well guess what…there IS an army of Christian teachers. There are so many out there right now who hate the compromises they have made and the things they have ignored in order to keep their jobs and not stand out as a non-conformist. I know because I have done it too. I am ashamed to say that there was a time when I put more value on my bank account and the acceptance of my peers than on the children learning from me every day, watching my every move, and believing what I silently and inadvertently endorsed. But I found out I wasn’t alone. When I finally realized what I was willing to trade for the purity of my students, I was humbled and grieved…and I was done. I was done turning away from red flags and finding ways to justify allowing corruption in my school. I was done perpetuating the cloud of evil and deception. That’s right…by not standing against it I had been endorsing corruption. But no more!

So how did I know I wasn’t alone? When I spoke up, others gained courage to speak up. One by one, they would approach me with the concerns they had been tortured with for years. And every time I speak out, more open up and admit they despise how trapped they feel, how afraid they have been to take action. But if every Christian teacher decided today to say NO! No more! Satan is not welcome here!, imagine how loud our battle cry would be and how quickly the enemy would rush to the shadows to cower. He’s already so afraid of us. Why else would he choose the youngest and most vulnerable of us for his dastardly plans. He knows he is no match for an army of teachers covered by Jesus blood.

We are stronger than most realize and we have a task that must not be delayed. There is no one else waiting to step up and do this for us. If we teachers do not stand up now, our students will be devoured by the enemy. The battle will only get harder the longer we wait to take action. We want Christian values restored in our schools, but first we have to break down a foundation of corruption that has been allowed and established. We cannot build a good school on top of an evil foundation. The way break it down is to refuse to allow even one more corrupt lesson or policy to be presented or followed. We have to get used to saying NO! We have to accept that we will be recipients of hate and anger. But as long as we are saying no with grace and love at all times, God will be faithful and carry us through it all. And we must be careful to say no without any destructive words toward those we are opposing. After all, “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 We are representing God in this battle, so do it right. We are not against people, but against the evil surrounding our young. We are their rescue plan and the children are counting on us to do what is right.

My dear, sweet, fellow teachers…you can do this. Your voice matters. Christ will give you strength. Trust God’s promises and start saying no to corruption in your school from here on out, without fail and without hesitation. If your job ends, it just means that God has other plans for you. Don’t worry, when you meet God in person some day, He won’t care if you managed to keep your salary and retirement fund. He will only care how you loved others. How much will you love your students today and every day from now on?

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

1 Timothy 6:12

A Time To Teach

Reaching Every Student

Before this school year, there were many days that left me smiling in appreciation for a career where I got to spend time with hundreds of precious teens and work with them to achieve their potential and much more. The days where corruption and deception tried to take hold of the youth in my care were few and far between. What a blessing! This school year has brought out the worst in most of us at one time or another. The mountain of problems in education that needs attention is so high that we feel like we are scraping ice from our windshield with a toothpick.

Today was a much needed relief to my very soul! I could still find plenty of things to be grumpy about, if I tried; my dog eating yet another piece of my couch when I wasn’t looking, finding out that the only cookies left were the burnt ones that nobody wanted, many students still not wanting to do assignments no matter how easy we have made it, change number 532 in our school procedures…etc. But today I saw success, at least in my eyes. We are trying out a new messaging system that will allow for easy translation when getting important messages to parents. This is huge! Bridging the language gap is something I beg for on every end of year survey for the district. Don’t misunderstand, there are efforts being made to strengthen connections with our students and parents who don’t speak English. However, I find that we are still in desperate need of help in that area.

When I am delivering science instruction, I know that some will find it challenging to absorb, even if English is their first language. I can only imagine how it must feel to sit in a science class and be one of only a few who have no idea what the teacher is saying. After my first year of teaching and seeing my English Language Learner (ELL) students watch the clock in agony, I teamed up with two loving teachers to try offering some alternative instruction that included more pictures, was easier to translate, or was written in Spanish (that is the primary second language I encounter, but I am sure we could also have success with other languages too). Right away, we experienced a positive change. Some students were making more effort to understand and even attempting to talk more in class (just like we tend to be nervous about trying to say new words we have learned, they are too).

This inspired me to work toward meeting them part of the way by learning some Spanish. I know I am not expected to, but I see it as a skill that would serve me well in all of life. Sometimes it is easy to forget how many different and beautiful languages there are on this planet because we only hear or use one most of the time. But why wouldn’t I just stick with the text with pictures and translations? Three words…Parent Teacher Conference. My students will find a way to fit in and adjust because that’s what kids do. But when a caring parent comes in and truly wants to be a part of their child’s education, I do not want language to defeat them. We need those kinds of parents so badly. Well, after two years of sporadic lessons in my spare time, I have made little progress. Perhaps this year the Spanish conversation will start flowing. I have attempted some phrases that made for some entertainment with my ELL students. They just politely giggle and shake their heads. I may not have said it right, but the respect I earned opened the door to willingness to try these new and difficult science concepts. I call that a success!

My hope is that my district will start to see so much success with this new message translating service that they will be encouraged to offer language training to their teachers and other staff. They have, in fact, offered Spanish classes in the past, but there were only a few short sessions and there wasn’t near enough time to learn it well. I can see two immediate benefits to teaching language to the staff. First, the district would spend less money hiring a few teachers to teach many teachers (we are good at learning in large groups) than they spend on this messaging service. Yay, more money for learning enrichment for our students. Second, they would be increasing the knowledge, skills, and confidence of their staff. When every student can be reached, it is truly a blessing! Oh wait…I just thought of one more reason. The students would know that even though they are new in town they are loved, valued, and respected.

In Mark 10:17, Jesus said, “…let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Jesus didn’t put any conditions on this command. He didn’t say, “…but only if they speak proper English.” ALL the little children are precious to Jesus. They all deserve the chance to learn and discover their purpose. We, the teachers, have the position and ability to carry out this important task for God. Are you ready? Time to roll up our sleeves and do better. The children are counting on us. We CAN reach them all!

The Curriculum

The Big Whisper

I read an article years ago about symbolism in our dreams and how to decode them. It was just some fun reading and I didn’t put much stock in it at the time. The article said that any snakes in the dream suggested someone in your life was lying to you or would lie to you in the near future. Your reflection could be an angel, but blue eyes could represent yourself. The symbol that stuck out the most to me was the lions. A dark lion represented Satan and a light lion represented God. I don’t know if there is actually any merit to that person’s analysis of dream symbols, but I do believe that God uses dreams as a way to whisper important messages to us. Look at the visions Joseph had in the Old Testament.

Joel 2:28 says, “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” But the same message reappears in Acts 2:17. God is still using dreams in His plan, so we should certainly pay attention. Warning: God does not like false statements of dreams, so always pray for discernment when hearing one. Ever since my first memory, I have had many vivid dreams. Sometimes the dreams would come daily and would keep me deep in thought the next day, especially when I was a child. I always wanted desperately to make sense of them, but never could. I have written some of them down over the years at the advice of my husband. Lately, I have been hearing more and more testimonies of dear ones around me having dreams and visions. As much as I would like to have an amazing vision to share, I don’t want it unless God sends it.

Well, I finally had a possibly prophetic dream. It wasn’t lengthy and it wasn’t odd or complicated. But before I had the dream, I was invited by my student’s parent to a recent dinner with the Tulsa City Elders. First, let me just say, “Wow!” This group is committed to reclaiming the city for God and carefully guarding the “city gates” with “elders”. I didn’t know such a group existed, but they are great in number and growing in strength. My husband accompanied me to the dinner and we spent the evening praying for our city and meeting brave people from different careers who are standing for God at their work. Rhonda, the parent who invited me, was eager to introduce me to different people who had heard about the letter I wrote about the hidden corruption in our public schools. One of the people Rhonda introduced me to was a lady representing the Republican GOP in Tulsa. She asked for my information and was very interested in hearing more. I look forward to speaking and meeting with her in the near future.

The speakers that night called for courage and action. They pointed out the level of corruption in our country and its exponential growth. They encouraged and empowered us to stand up and fight in God’s army. You know that scene in Coming to America where Eddie Murphy is at the rally and suddenly stands up and yells, “I am so happy to be here!”? I honestly felt like that. Their words were convicting and powerful. I was sitting there becoming more full of purpose by the second. There was this sense of urgency welling up in me, and when they mentioned what is happening to our youth and the influence teachers can have over that, I almost cried. God was calling me loud and clear. One of the final images on their giant screen that night was a beautiful light golden lion, standing majestically and fearlessly. I stared at the image and was full of hope and bravery.

Back to my dream…That night, I dreamed of a blonde lion with a full mane and muscles rippling as he walked slowly and confidently forward across the land. Flanking each side of this lion were several lionesses as beautiful as the lion. They were walking confidently by his side. As I looked at their feet, I noticed that the lionesses were trampling the people in society who represent evil; the greedy, the liars, the murderers, the deceivers. All of these people were being crushed as if they were delicate twigs.

At the City Elders dinner, one speaker had declared that we have not just “awoken a sleeping giant”, but that Christ’s bride (the church) is set to conquer the enemy, and Christ will not be satisfied until the enemy is crushed beneath His bride’s feet. Powerful! Perhaps my dream was simply confirmation that what I heard was valid, but I am confident it was from God. I am also confident that it is time for the church to rise up and walk confidently beside God. It is much harder to trample the enemy sitting down. So rise up! Rise up and join the battle! We already know how it ends!!!