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!

A Time To Teach The Curriculum

The Perfect Parent

I would like to meet the perfect parent. I would truly like to sit down to lunch with them, my treat. I would ask them how they did it…how they duped everyone into believing that there is any such person as the perfect parent. Please forgive my snarky tone, but I am constantly dismayed at the inference from society that the perfect parent is out there somewhere and if you are not striving for it, you are not worthy to be called parent. The pressure is almost unbearable for some and they drive themselves and their children crazy trying to attain that status. We have all seen that parent who seems to have actually gotten there…or at least they would have us believing it. I’m not talking about the parent who loses sleep because they have volunteered for everything at their child’s school, done all the research, attended all the sporting events with the personalized jersey, and carefully chosen a gift for each teacher. No, I am talking about the parent who belittles any other parent who doesn’t work as hard, do as much, or get seen as often as they do.

Grab onto something plastic because this next statement could be quite shocking. (Ahem, a little science humor.) The public school is attempting to become the picture of that perfect parent. What?!?! But Mrs. Cook, you are part of the public school? This is true. However, I am speaking of the worldly part of public school that is not representative of the heart of a teacher…the part driven by politics, bought by the highest bidder for curriculum, and determined to mold your children into a generation of lazy, entitled, God-hating toddlers. Okay, time to take a deep breath before I get carried away. Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………………..Lord may my words be your wisdom and truth and nothing more.

So, what exactly do I mean by that statement? Until this year, when so much truth was revealed to me about the corruption in our public schools, I was honestly under the delusion that schools actually expected parents to take their role seriously. The truth is that more and more public schools are hiding their intentions and curriculum from parents. I know because I have tested it and found it to be true. When something is hidden by humans, you should always wonder why. I always tell my students and my own children that if you have to hide it, you are probably doing something bad. Why would you have to hide it if it is honorable and good? The answer is right there if you look a little deeper. Public schools hide things because they know the content is bad and parents would most likely object. The message this sends to parents is clear and effectively defeating…you are not a good enough parent, so we will just do it for you; we will decide what your student should learn, speak, and think and WE will raise them for you. How many parents receive that message and believe it? How many parents are simply giving up? Even one would be too many.

Let me tell you what God thinks about your parenting skills. Proverbs 1:8-9 says, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” It doesn’t say, “…but only if your parent is perfect”. God considers parental teachings to be the mark of a truly beautiful adult. But what happens when we allow someone else to take over our God-given authority over our children?

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NKJV

I know this is a hard question to answer, but who is training up your child? That’s who your child will default to when they are grown.

You may be sitting there thinking, “Yeah, but she doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a single parent or disabled or uneducated…” I imagine there are many types of parents I can’t relate to. But, every parent has this in common…you were chosen by God to be your child’s parent. In God’s infinite wisdom, He chose you to trust with the upbringing of one of his beloved and precious souls. As if that isn’t enough of a reason to stand tall with confidence, God already knew what kind of person you would be when He chose you. You didn’t surprise Him with your mistakes and bad decisions (by the way, we all do those things often).

“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16 NKJV

Just like God carefully crafted you, He carefully chose you to carry one of His great designs. YOU are enough! YOU are God’s perfect choice for a parent! And YOU have the highest authority over your child, not the schools or the government or society…YOU! I have met parents who discounted their abilities because they were doing it alone or because they had experienced some failure. Here is your truth, dear parents. If you strive to do better when mistakes are made, if you give your child your very best, if you put your child’s needs above your own, if you teach them to love God you are a good parent and you are just what God wants for your child. One of the best parents I have ever known (and one of my dearest friends) raised a beautiful, respectful, responsible, compassionate boy despite doing it all by herself. She will be the first to admit she made many mistakes and was not able to do half the things she wanted to do for him. But, she gave her very best and that’s exactly what God wanted from her. By the way, I don’t want to leave out one of my favorite categories of parents, adoptive and foster parents. I believe God chose them too. I have had the pleasure of teaching next to one adoptive mother of two little girls. She is not any more perfect than any other parent, but she is God’s perfect choice as their parent. When she talks to them, you can see the pure love pouring out and the girls know who will be there by their side, guiding them through life.

If you are sitting there right now thinking God made a mistake asking you to be a parent, STOP IT RIGHT NOW! God doesn’t make mistakes. You can do this! Do not give up. God will carry you if you accept His help. It will be difficult, messy, and even painful sometimes, but see it through. Your child is counting on you. Trust me, you don’t want to see who is waiting to steal that role from you. Hang on tight and don’t let go. I will leave you with this statement of Truth:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:3 NKJV