Last Thursday, WCS teachers joined more than 1300 Christian educators, paraeducators, and administrators at Redeemer University for the annual teachers’ convention. The theme of this year’s gathering was “Flourishing Students, Beautiful Work”. I love the word flourishing to describe what we want for our students. We don’t just want students to “get by” in our classes; we want them to flourish. We want them to have experiences of deep learning and connection. We want them to feel known and loved in a class community that recognizes each student as an image bearer of God.
We want students to experience what Jesus says in John 10:10 - “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The Voice translation of the Bible gives Jesus’ words as “I came to give life with joy and abundance.”
Sometimes in the daily grind of life, we lose sight of this focus. We get stuck in the thorns and thistles of Genesis 3, as one keynote speaker from the convention put it. That makes experiences like the teachers’ convention all the more powerful as they give teachers moments to step out of their daily work rhythms and meet together with other educators, being refreshed and renewed for the work ahead. Hopefully your children, too, had moments of rest and refreshment and renewal in their days away from school. And may you, too, continue to experience Jesus leading you into an abundant and joy-filled life.
Bethany Pasma, Gr. 6/7 Teacher
One of the things I like is a good ‘Dad-joke’. This picture came up on one of my social media feeds the other day. The caption read; “It looks like someone drove over the speed limit”. Besides getting a groan out of me, it also struck me and caused me to do some reflecting on speed and the pace of life right now. People are busy, the school year is in full swing, and many are involved in extra-curricular activities. It is indeed a busy time. At times it may feel like we are speeding through life, and that we do not have time for everything. While most of the time the things we are busy with are good. One thing I have been reminded of over the past number of weeks is the importance of slowing down. In fact, I feel like God has caused me to slow down. Just over a month ago, I injured my calf playing baseball and was instructed by doctors to wear a walking boot/air cast. Many of you may have seen me hobbling around at school. Well, this injury has forced me to slow down in a number of respects. For example, just the other day, our family went shopping and while they walked at their ‘normal’ pace, I was slowly walking behind them and before I knew it they were in the store, and I was still in the parking lot. Life has had to slow down for me because of my calf injury. In some respects, this has been good, but at other times it has also been frustrating. I have been reminded again of our need to rely on God in all things. Our school theme this year is ‘Praise the Lord’, and I have been working on that. A song that keeps coming to mind for me is ‘Lord I Need You’ by Matt Maher. Take a listen here: Lord I Need You - Matt Maher. It is my prayer for our students and the rest of us as well…that we can find time to slow down and ‘Praise the Lord’ amidst the busyness of life.
Tony Schaafsma, Grade 5 Teacher
Recently in grade 2, we were studying prayer. We learned about the prayer model ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
Adoration: This word was unfamiliar to us, but we learned that it means we need to praise God for who he is. We know God is Almighty, strong, big, Mighty, Creator, Saviour, powerful, forever, forgiving, loving, patient, kind….. When we pray, we need to tell God that we know who he is and praise Him for who he is. We talked about how this is often a part of prayer we tend to forget about.
Confession: We learned we need to confess our sins to God and ask for forgiveness. This is a hard part of prayer for us. We don’t like to think about our sins, but we need to tell God what we have done wrong and ask for forgiveness. The best news is that our God is always willing to forgive us!
Thanksgiving: In this part of prayer, we thank God for everything He has done and is doing. We think we are very good at this part of our prayers. It is so easy to look around God’s world and see so many things to thank Him for.
Supplication: This was another unfamiliar word to us. We learned this is when we ask God for our needs or for the needs of others. This is another area of prayer that we felt we usually do.
As we approach Thanksgiving this coming weekend, just don’t thank God but remember to do all parts of the ACTS model.
I pray you all have a blessed thanksgiving with your family and friends.
Natalie VanAndel, Grade 2 Teacher