“As the ceremony ended, the school director thanked me warmly for speaking to the children. Then he added with a note of puzzlement: ‘You don’t teach like we do, why is that?‘ It was my turn to look puzzled. At that stage in my teaching career, I hadn’t done any classroom observation in West Africa. Furthermore, I’d given little thought to how I taught and none to why I did what I did. ‘Do you teach on Wednesday afternoons?’ the director asked. I shook my head, no. ‘Then I will come on Wednesday afternoons and you can tell me why you teach like that.‘ Somewhat dismayed, I nodded vaguely, breathing a prayer that something would crop up to prevent our meeting. ‘Teach like what?’ I thought.
“That was 30 years ago and today, I am still grateful to that Beninese school director for starting me on a journey of discovery as to why Christian teachers do what they do in the classroom and why it matters,” says Megan Patterson, SIM’s ministry point person for education.
“We all tend to teach in the same way we ourselves were taught, so it took me a while before I gave much thought to the crucial difference between being a Christian teacher and a teacher who also happens to be a Christian,” adds Megan, sent and supported by Livingston Free Church, Scotland.
“What I began to realise is that each classroom is actually part of the biblical story of creation, fall, redemption and restoration. It’s not only information we are sharing, but theology – truth about who God is and what his intentions are in the world he has created.
“I’ve since had the privilege of exploring these ideas with countless teachers globally, and have many times been amazed how their understanding of their privileged and significant place in students’ lives has been revolutionised.”
Having thought and taught for many years about what it means to be a Christian teacher, Megan has now captured all her learning in a series of teaching videos.
“However strict the regime in which a teacher works – whether he or she is allowed to mention the Lord or not – we can teach in such a way that our students can notice the difference God makes to our understanding of the world.
“We can be confident that, in teaching as specifically Christian teachers, a chink of light can enter our classrooms and fall on the pages of our students’ textbooks. And we can trust that, under God, those students, their families and communities, can be brought from darkness to light.”
Give thanks that Megan’s ministry is to see:
- TEACHERS TRANSFORMED as they learn to see God revealing himself through school subjects.
- CLASSROOMS TRANSFORMED as the Holy Spirit enables teaching and learning.
- CHILDREN TRANSFORMED as they are nurtured by their compassionate teacher.
- FAMILIES TRANSFORMED as the message of God’s love reaches them too.
Contact Megan ([email protected]) to find out more about teaching opportunities with SIM.