I would like to bet you a crisp fiver—if I were the kind of teacher who made bets—that you could walk into my classroom on any given day, ask “Would anyone like to volunteer to read aloud for us?,” and then see hands go up all over the classroom. Once the words, “Would any one like to volunteer?” came out of your mouth, the hands would fly, because CCS kids love to read, love to help, and love to learn. It brings me so much joy every day!
For those of you that don’t have a front row seat to this joy, I just want to give you a glimpse behind the scenes at the precious work God is doing at our school:
- I have students who ask to practice math timed tests, just for fun.
- I have 5th graders who complain on the days we don’t do grammar. (They’re still working on Philippians 2:14.)
- When I introduce a new sound-off (which means I’m assigning them to memorize facts about a particular subject), I usually get applause.
- When I ask for a volunteer to come up to the board, they beg me to pick them. I inevitably have so many pleading volunteers, I am often forced to draw names randomly.
- At lunch, I am bombarded with requests to be the person who prays for the meal.
- On a regular basis I have students, different ones, at different times, come up to me and simply ask, “Is there anything I can do to help you?”
Some of the most fun we have in 5th grade is when we read together at the end of the day. In 3rd quarter we read a delightful novel called The Pushcart War. At the end of the book we have a big “conference” to discuss our thoughts. This conference is considerably more beneficial and interesting if the students have not already read the ending. So every year I have to have a very serious talk in my most formidable teacher voice telling them to not read the end of the book ahead of time. These kids are voracious. They love to read, and they get so excited about our novels. (Apparently, when they were asked in the hallway about the books they were reading, their answers were so enthusiastic I was asked to write this article!)
We laugh together at the The Phantom Tollbooth, and we cry together at Where the Red Fern Grows. We discuss deep Biblical truths in Tuck Everlasting, and we puzzle out great secrets of love and marriage in The Witch of Blackbird Pond. We say that K-2 is learning to read, but 3-5 is reading to learn. These kids are more than ready to soak up all God has to say about the world that He has made.
John Milton Gregory, author of The Seven Laws of Teaching, wrote this about students:
Some love nature and her sciences of observation and experiment; others love the mathematics and delight in their problems; others love languages and literature, and others still history and the spiritual sciences which deal with the powers, doings, and destinies of mankind. Each special appetite grows by feeding, and becomes absorbing as its acquisitions become great. The great masteries and achievements in arts, learning, literature, and science have come from these inborn tastes, and in all these “The child is the father of the man” [William Wordsworth].
May it be so that the faith and joy of these children would guide their hearts for a lifetime.
I give thanks to the Lord for his hand upon these precious students because His spirit is so evidently at work in their hearts. Thank you, parents, for the incredible job you are doing to train these children up in the way they should go. Your labor is never in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58)! And lastly, thank you CCS for the privilege to minister at this amazing school. There are not many teachers who get to experience this kind of joy, and I often think to myself, “I see Goodness and Mercy following me around our hallways” (Psalm 23).
Soli Deo Gloria! (Glory to God alone!)