By God’s grace, we completed our first semester of teaching! Some words we might use to describe this past season include: fun, stretching, rewarding, humbling, and encouraging, just to name a few. It was a lot of work to learn the content of our courses on top of learning how to teach (online!), but God was so gracious to us and provided us with the strength, wisdom, and support that we needed for each day. Becoming teachers has taught us to depend on God in new ways, and we are blessed to be serving here at Faith Academy where we have the privilege of building into the children of missionaries.
What Did This Past Semester Look Like?
The semester began mid-August and ended mid-December. School was entirely online and mostly asynchronous. We delivered each week’s worth of work to our students on Monday morning, and would meet once or twice a week for a live class on Google Meet. Apart from our classes, one of the highlights for us this semester was homeroom. During homeroom, a group of 8-12 students meet with a teacher for up to 30 minutes every morning. Homerooms ensured that each student had some form of interaction with a teacher everyday and a clear “start” to the school day. It was also a great opportunity to pray and build discipleship relationships with students.
How Did It Go?
Grady’s Classes (Philosophy & Theology, Questions in Church History) Grady enjoyed teaching both of his classes. He particularly appreciated the rich discussions and relationships he built with his grade 12 students in Philosophy & Theology. To quote a couple of his students:
“[Philosophy & Theology has] definitely influenced the way I approach life. First, I learned a lot more perspectives on life that I did not know before. I especially liked learning about the Medieval philosophers because their theories were so new to me. Second, I now put more importance on thought than before. I think a lot of the philosophers understood the weight of a “thought” and I agree that our thoughts are just as important as our actions and words. Lastly, this course has vastly changed the way I view philosophy! To be honest, I thought philosophy was dull and boring but this course has completely changed that view. I enjoyed it very much and I’m kind of sad that it’s only a semester course.”
“[Philosophy & Theology] was truly eye opening! I came into it initially dragging my feet, but I have come to truly love this class. I learned so many interesting things that absolutely fascinate me. I definitely think it has changed my approach to life, as well as affecting what I believe, for the better.”
Questions in Church History is a unique course that asks questions that the church has asked throughout history such as, Who is the gospel for? What is the relationship between church & state? How should we deal with conflict in the church? etc. This is done while also working on social studies skills including how to develop good questions, how to evaluate and effectively use primary and secondary sources, how to conduct a research inquiry, etc. Grady’ students have shown perseverance in this challenging course, with several of his students saying that it is a tough course, but that it has been beneficial for them.
Britt’s Classes (Doctrine and French 1) Britt really enjoyed the balance of teaching Doctrine (Grade 11 Bible) and French. A highlight for her in Doctrine was having the privilege of journeying with her students as they wrestled through what they believe and why they believe those things. She received positive feedback at the end of the semester that the class was a safe space for the students to ask difficult questions and freely express themselves. To quote a couple of her students:
“Prior to this class, I did not prioritize building my faith in God or nurturing my love for Him. This class has fostered my devotion to God and has awakened my interest in proving His existence. Though I am still in the process of being molded by Him, I am confident that this class has contributed to fueling my passion for learning more about the history of Christianity and the nature of Christ.”
“This course had a significant impact on my growing relationship with God. Personally, learning about God’s attributes, and the knowability of God was the most helpful to me. It really made me learn and understand more about God, and also once again made me feel the greatness of God. It inspired me to look more into God, … nowadays I find myself reading through the Bible quite a lot, I am actually quite consistent at it too, because before I would motivate myself to read the Bible for a few days and would stop, but now I’m actually learning and understanding more about God, which has also increased my confidence as a Christian, especially in stating my beliefs, which is also something that helped me a lot from all the position papers that I have written during this course. It made me have a claim, and state my beliefs with confidence, which adds [to] my confidence to speak my beliefs to other people.”
Teaching French was quite challenging at first because it hasn’t been taught in over five years and so there were fewer resources available. It was also difficult because an important part of learning a language is regular practice and dialogue, which is limited online. Thankfully through support from other language teachers and much trial-and-error, she was able to establish rhythms that maximized online interaction. It was a joy for her to use her French again and to see the students progress in their ability to speak, read, and write French.
A New Semester
In December, Faith Academy was given approval to begin face-to-face classes. Our admin team worked tirelessly at creating plans and procedures so that students could safely return to campus. The plan was to begin the New Year with a hybrid model of learning (partially online, partially in person), with the hope of eventually transitioning to fully in person. However, this all changed during the first week of January when restrictions tightened once again, meaning face-to-face classes would not be allowed for the foreseeable future. Please pray with us that we would all trust in the Lord and not lean on our own understanding as we navigate our current circumstances. We are thankful to be led by a team of admin staff who are prayerfully seeking God and desiring to make decisions on behalf of Faith Academy that will honor Him.
- Pray for the students who are struggling with mental health, and especially who struggle in online learning. Pray for God’s comfort and strength. Pray that they would receive support and feel connected.
- Pray for wisdom for our admin team as they make difficult decisions about how to proceed despite these uncertain times.
- Pray for us as we teach this semester. Britt is teaching two new courses: Christian Living and French (part 2). Grady is teaching Philosophy and Theology again, and Church History (part 2). Pray that we would learn the content well and be able to teach it effectively.
- Pray for our relationships and connections with our students. Pray that we would be able to build relationships and trust, and by God’s grace, that we would be able to point them to Jesus.
- We both got Covid just as the school year was starting. We have recovered, but there are some lingering symptoms such as coughing and fatigue. Please pray that we will make a full recovery.
Thank you so much for your prayer and support. It really means a lot to us! Please let us know if there are specific ways we can be praying for you.
Much love, Britt and Grady