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Erin Gibbs

Personal Perspective
September 18, 2015
There is something of a theme in the four passages I am choosing to write on.
They all seem to be getting at the idea of education as a means to learn about our
Creator and His Creation. One in particular, Christians teaching in the public
schools: What are some options? (Schwartz 1997), had the interesting take of
envisioning a school being engaged in meaningful, respectful dialogue about
fundamental questions. I found this interesting because the values being portrayed
here are important ones in any school and are valued by more than just Christians,
but this was meant to guide Christian teachers in public schools. I also liked the
ideas presented about flourishing and shalom by Beerens. I liked the idea of shalom
as a relationship with God, neighbor, creation and self when I first heard it back in
IDIS 205 and I still like it now because it shows that there is more to flourishing than
meeting goals of personal gain. While it is important to have a harmonious
relationship with yourself, its also important to recognize the other relationships in
your life to understand your calling. Grahams passage (2009) touches on
something that has been a recurring theme/question in my mind so far throughout
much of what weve done. So many secular schools write mission statements with
elements of creation, fall, redemption, and hope, and I have to wonder if those are
just words on a page to look good, or if the schools really believe they can achieve
these goals without the lens of Christianity as their guide? They cant possibly fulfill
redemption if they dont even know what they are striving for.
There is something critical there in the way Westehorf (2000) wrote his
passage. He makes the note that the teacher here is an experienced public school
teacher as premise before making his point. I think what the author is really trying
to get at is that even though this teacher taught public school, his biblical

Erin Gibbs
Personal Perspective
September 18, 2015
knowledge was not lost on secular curriculum standards. I think the verse given
speaks volumes as well because Christian teachers often struggle in public schools
since they may feel like the Daniel in the lions den referred to in the passage, but
really they need to trust in God and knows that it is his or her place to just settle in
and work toward the well-being of the place. It makes me think of a mantra I often
tell myself since I tend to be a busy bee, always looking forward: be present where
you are. This is the passage that I will be basing my perspective on.
PART III To be perfectly honest, I havent given much thought to what kind of
teacher I will be or why I would be a certain kind of teacher until now. Having all
these new terms and ideas in front of me, its slightly overwhelming, but also
putting stars in my eyes about another aspect of who I am to be. I always liked
school and excelled in all subjects throughout all grades. I used to think with an
entity view of my abilities, but as I grew older, especially as I entered college, I
shifted to seeing myself with an incremental view and so many doors opened. I was
no longer terrified by classes I knew nothing about because I believed that I could
learn the material. I think my entity view came from the practice of competitive
classrooms laced throughout my education. Teachers were always creating some
way for us to outdo one another, and it definitely made me categorize myself when I
couldnt win everythingafter all, that was the point, right, to be the best at
everything? Not quite.
I think that this competitive nature drove me to question my identity. Who am
I if Im not living up to the implicit expectations of those around me? After much
prayer and deliberation, it became quite clear that I have but one person to whom I
owe my identity and that is Jesus Christ. I am a child of God, just like every other

Erin Gibbs
Personal Perspective
September 18, 2015
person I ever have and ever will meet, including each student that passes through
my future classroom. I used to view everyone as an enemy that I must defeat and
prove my superior worth to, but now that Im older and hopefully a little wiser, Im
breaking out of that and seeing the bigger picture of working together and not
against one another. I believe that this world is fallen and I have just proven myself
to be an example of that, but I also believe this world will one day be restored. Until
then, I believe that my role here on Earth is to be present and do the work of the
Lord alongside Him.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Why do we ever learn anything? Because someone told us that we had better
learn it, or because we genuinely wanted to, or is there even something else to it? I
think that all of those reasons are valid, but I also think there is something more to
be said about the purpose of learning. We are called to learn about our world as
Graham touched on in Teaching Redemptively. We are made to take care of this
place we call home but we cant do that without first learning how it works. Humans
learn so that they can do, and they learn by doing. Funny how that works, huh?
While writing my ethnography, I decided to visit one of my elementary
schools websites and the tagline stated, Attitude determines altitude and I think
that is an important little phrase to keep in mind. Teachers and students alike have
to have a positive attitude if either party plans to move forward (or for the sake of
the metaphor, upward) from the point at which they begin a school year. Teachers
cant put their students in boxes and students cant put themselves in them either.

Erin Gibbs
Personal Perspective
September 18, 2015
With all of these ideas and beliefs in mind, it feels impossible to put them all
into practice, but the only way to achieve the classroom I want to one day be a part
of is to do just that. I really want to have a classroom where I am not the only one in
charge. I want my students to hold responsibilities and to hold one another
accountable for them. For example, I would give a couple of students each week the
responsibility of posting their notes for class to a group discussion. I want my
curriculum to be versatile while still teaching the important things that may be
required. To do this, I could design a curriculum based solely on project-based
learning for a science class. Through it, students would come to know one another,
and I would come to know each of them and what makes them tick so that I can
continually change lessons to suit their needs.
I want my students to know who they are so they can aim high and achieve
more than they ever dreamed. I want them to know who I am and hold me to their
expectations of me, whatever they may be. I want us to all recognize that we are
fallen people in a broken world, but that we all have hope because we are
redeemed, and by recognizing this, we can be comfortable with our present
situations, not fighting like Daniel, but humbly accepting that this is where we are
meant to settle if only for a short time.