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Petra van’t Slot, High School Science and Math Teacher

Tell us about yourself
I grew up in a very small village in the Netherlands, surrounded by forests and fields of heather. The first time all of us village kids really had to venture out was when we went to high school; a large, regional Christian school. At the high school I became good friends with the kindest, tallest boy with blond hair and brown eyes that can still make my stomach flutter. We loved to hang out and talk about deep things. That boy is now my husband and still my best friend. When we got married we bought an apartment close to a beautiful city in the Netherlands; with lots of culture and history. We thought we’d always live close to that city and we told our friends and family so. Two years later we packed up all our belongings to move to England where my husband pursued his PhD. In England our family was blessed with two amazing kids. We thought England was as far as we’d go – one hour by plane from home was far enough. But God opened other doors and we moved to Irvine, CA. After 3 years in the sun, New Jersey became our new home in 2012. I love to read, watch good movies, be a mother to my kids, cook, make nerdy jokes, teach, make things from yarn, work my garden to grow flowers and food, hike, be still in nature, write.

How did God bring you to work at EC?
I studied Chemistry at Wageningen University in The Netherlands. During my studies I explored teaching since I have always felt God calling me in that direction. After obtaining my MSc in Chemistry, I pursued my teacher license at Utrecht University. In the Netherlands that means another year of training. I started teaching – mostly Chemistry and some Math at a Christian high school. After 5 years we moved to England. My plan was to start teaching there and I had obtained my license in order to be qualified. When we arrived in Bristol however, I soon realized that my high school English was no match for the inner-city English that the kids around me were speaking. I decided to work on my language skills first and I found a part-time job in a store. The job required me to answer the phone, do demos with customers, hang out with my colleagues – lots of speaking practice and I am still so grateful to the store owner for hiring me. But I missed teaching. I still vividly remember the day, shortly before we were moving to Irvine, that I said to my husband: “When we arrive in the US, I will do what it takes to start teaching again.”. In Irvine, I first worked at UCI as an outreach coordinator and as a Teaching Fellow at a summer school. Eventually I started working at Whittier Christian High School as a Science Teacher.

For the past 3 years I taught full-time at Montclair State University. Though I loved working with the students there, part of me missed teaching high school students and teaching at a Christian school. This past Christmas, after much discerning and prayer, I felt led to reach out to a few Christian high schools, one of them being Eastern Christian. I emailed Mr. Dykhouse and left the outcome in God’s hands. And that’s how it all started. When you submit your ways to God, he will truly make your paths straight (Prov. 3:6). This is a recurring theme in my life.

What sets EC apart?
When I started considering high schools, Eastern Christian stood out to me for many reasons. I found the school online and even from the website I could tell EC is a school of character. The school’s Core Values resonate with who I strive to be as a teacher. It’s hard to tell what sets the school apart since I am just starting to know the school – from what I see now it is dedication to and love for God and the students combined with professionalism and striving for excellence. I am looking forward to witness God at work in the EC students. Jesus taught us to pray: “Your Kingdom come; on earth as it is in heaven.” This is my desire – to live the Kingdom Life with and for my students and their families, following and surrendering to the One who leads us as a servant.