I recently went on a trip to Virginia, and I copied off directions from Mapquest. Since I did not look at a map, I did not have a “Big Picture View” of where I was going. During the course of this trip, the passengers in my vehicle would ask, “Where are we?” It was a good question but without a true understanding of where I was, it was difficult for me to give them an accurate answer.
Where Are We (Faith Christian School) Going?
It’s a fair question! The educational landscape is changing dramatically these days. Educational choices, schools, colleges, etc., are all seeking the best ways to educate and prepare young people for the future. Faith Christian School is also seeking to prepare our students for their future in a variety of areas – spiritually, academically, physically, and vocationally – to name a few. A big factor in this preparatory phase is trying to gain momentum as well as direction.
Here are a few ways that we are seeking to reach these goals:
- Evaluate and modify our attendance policy. One of the greatest obstacles to momentum is student absenteeism. Accompanying this concern is the number of trips and out-of-school activities that teachers and students participate in. There is a lot to say about the correlation of good grades and student attendance. We need parents to take every measure to have their student at school. Working through sniffles, coughs, aches, etc., is a good lesson for all of us to learn. If we are to gain momentum, we need great attendance and participation in class.
- Continue to work and partner together with a 30,000 ft. viewpoint. We live busy lives and we want our students to be well-rounded and enjoy their FCS experience. When administrators, teachers, coaches, students, and parents all communicate and work together, it is wonderful thing. When scheduling conflicts arise, students and teachers should communicate and work together to come up with a workable solution. Students need to work hard at being responsible and respectful in their work ethic and communication. As teachers, we must know and understand what our students have on their plates and possibly adapt and adjust our plans and expectations in a way that seek to meet the mission.
- Set reasonable and yet high standards for students. The following is a quote that I used from one of our teachers on staff at FCS: “One of the biggest needs I see in the area of academics is that of helping/encouraging/forcing students to set high standards for themselves. I’m not thinking of grades so much as I am of the quality of what they leave us with. I want to get away from ‘I can only do exactly what I’ve seen before, and then only if I remember it’ and move toward ‘I am equipped to tackle whatever academic task is given to me. I can break big projects down into small tasks. I have a ready set of resources I can bring to the table. I can try, and then try something else, and treat that as ‘all in a day’s work’.” I was encouraged by that perspective. I want our students to enjoy learning and enjoy working hard to complete a task or understand a new concept. Sometimes there can be joy in the middle of struggle – and that is a good thing!
- Lastly, I believe an important aspect of gaining momentum and direction is to understand the vehicle that our student is using. One of the teacher’s biggest and most challenging tasks is to meet the individual needs of each of his students and to understand how students learn the best. A dangerous trap is to teach how “I” learn the best. A great question for a teacher to ask himself is “how best do my students learn, and am I meeting their needs through the methods that I am using in class?” Lord willing, we are moving to Block Scheduling next year, and our teachers are going to have to teach differently in a 90 minute block compared to a 45 minute period of time. I’m excited about the prospects of introducing more and more technology into our classes as well as adding cultural experiences, labs, and other various tools to the the educational landscape for our students.
Where are we going? We want to take our students to greater heights and depths in their educational journey. We want to share new and exciting methods. We want students to acquire certain qualities that will make them very marketable in their future. We also want them to establish qualities such as responsibility, integrity, hard work, and trust in their lives. Students that take responsibility for their actions and decisions are a true blessing and encouragement to their teachers.
Teachers need to partner with students and encourage them to reach farther and higher. Teachers also need to understand the load that students carry in and out of school. Partnering together reduces frustration and bitterness and creates a great working and respectful relationship.