Several months ago I ran into a student I had taught in middle school. He was now married, a father, and very successfully employed. Once we managed through the “getting caught up” conversation, he asked a question that grabbed my attention. He wondered if I remembered what I had said to him when as a middle school student he chose to incorrectly answer a significant number of questions on the qualification test for the inter-school Bible contest. He knew that failing that test would help him avoid participating on the team. The memory came flying back!
With great detail, he shared what I had said to him that day. For him to remember it over these many years, it had clearly made an impact. As we continued to talk, he said that every morning on his way to work he reflects on our conversation and reminds himself to give God nothing less than his best on that given day. He never mentioned the gripping lesson I taught regarding the three branches of government or the one about multiplying two negative numbers yielding a positive number. The impacting life lesson wasn’t centered in an academic class, but in an after-school hallway conversation.
For good or for bad, teachers make a life-long impact on the hearts, minds and lives of their students. I know that to be true both as a teacher and as a student. I was the student who sat in the basement science room of the old EC junior high school blessed to have a teacher who sowed into my life and made a life-changing impact on me.
If practical experiences from teaching and life are not enough to demonstrate the impact of a Christian educator, research shows that while teachers can work hard to raise standardized test grades, there are actually more effective ways to impact grades coupled with long-term positive outcomes. We need schools that . . .
- provide a rigorous academic program challenging students to develop their God-given gifts and abilities.
- keep in mind that skills needed for future success aren’t always measured on standardized testing.
- deliver academic rigor through teachers who keep the whole child in mind. New research in neuroscience helps explain some of the benefits of focusing on more than just the academic skills. Research is showing that the way the brain functions and grows, it needs safety, it needs warmth, it actually even needs hugs. So it is evident that we learn more effectively in a state of positive emotion much more effectively than we learn in a state of negative emotion. (Youki Terada, “Understanding a Teacher’s Long-Term Impact, February 4, 2019, accessed Sept. 20, 2022,, https://www.edutopia.org/article/understanding-teachers-long-term-impact)
What a blessing when Christian parents can partner with a school that is . . .
- founded and grounded in biblical principles,
- committed to rigorous academic excellence,
- determined to employ teachers who love God, love young people, and love teaching.
Parents, schools, and the Christian church, in partnership, can work to raise a generation of faith, vision, and influence, all for the glory of God! Christian education has a long-term impact . . . it’s for eternity!