posted Friday 29th August 2014 by Robert Hall
Thank you for reading this, my last blog as Membership Director for ACT. Maybe it’s a good time to ask where we, Christians in education in AD 2014 , are right now.
This word means encamped around by an enemy. Our nation is currently panicking about radicalism and extremism. The obvious image which springs into the popular mind is aggressive armies, in Syria or Iraq, driven by ideology. The idea that young people from the UK might be a part of these armies is very unsettling. Humanists and secularists are keen to put this down to religiously motivated people and are quick to include Christians in this category.
So, how should we respond? By continuing to do a good job. Engage with young people. It’s not always easy to get inside their heads but as good teachers we need to do so. Try physically sitting where they sit. What does the learning environment look and feel like? Have a vision for these citizens of tomorrow which is greater than the vision they have for themselves.
Enter into professional dialogue with colleagues on curriculum and pedagogy. How do we, collectively, make a difference in the lives of young people? How do we, jointly, provide a balanced curriculum? How do we, working together, provide opportunities for all the pupils we have? How do we, as a school, instil a sense of hope?
‘Knowledge people’ understandably find it difficult to deal with unknowns, but Christians in education can cope. This sentence perhaps sums up how we should be, ‘I don’t know, but I know a Man who does ...’ Faith teaches us to live with mystery, partial revelation and ambiguity. The business of teaching and learning is not steady, uniform, predictable progression. Despite the vicissitudes of the classroom, we can keep calm and carry on because we know in whom we have believed.
Pray for colleagues, pupils, parents, school leaders and politicians. Pray that schools of a Christian character will be able to demonstrate convincingly the Christian difference within a hostile world.
As you enter the classroom, you are in a situation similar to any missionary. Actively seek support from friends, colleagues, family members and fellow Christians in education in your fellowship.
I’d like to say goodbye with one of my favourite Bible quotations, from Colossians 3.16,17
‘Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’ NIV UK
Of these verses Curtis Vaughan writes, ‘We must submit to the demands of the Christian message and let it become so deeply implanted within us that it controls all our thinking.’
The Message version has, 'Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing.'
Let this be true of you as you grow within the family known as the Association of Christian Teachers.
Thank you for your support and encouragement as we have grown together. ACTuality started with a circulation list of sixty and now has over one thousand eight hundred subscribers.
If you’d like to get in touch with me personally, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org For all ACT matters, contact email@example.com