Curriculum Trak recently hosted a webinar about why documenting our curricular decisions matter, with Dawn Fountain, a teacher and administrator with over 20 years of both public and faith-based educational experience. Most recently, Dawn helped to start Northeast Christian High School. She also works to support other startup schools and promote curriculum mapping and other best practices of Christian education. Below is a shortened version, but you can listen to the full webinar here.
I want to begin by saying that I pray that the Holy Spirit will just speak through me, allowing my words to be spoken for those that are needing to hear this now, today and in the future. I pray that it will be exactly what you need to encourage you to know that your Heavenly Father is right beside you and will direct you every step of the way.
All three of my girls went to Northland Christian in Kansas City and all three of them graduated from that school. And that was just by God’s provision, as all of our kids are so different. But all three of them have their own walks with the Lord, and it was because of Christian education, and that’s really the reason that I’m even here today. I need to share the why through my failures, and honestly, to overcome the fear of sharing this with you right now, because obeying Him is more important to me. I’m here because our Heavenly Father wants to walk with you, guide you, and inspire you to become your best beyond the words that are written in your lesson plans and written in your curriculum guides.
So as we go through this webinar, there’s a question that I need you to think about, because I’m going to revisit this question later. What habits and routines do you have already to access the Holy Spirit in your daily instruction? How do you say, Holy Spirit, be in my room, be throughout my day?
I’m going to give you just a few examples because, being in education a long time, I didn’t know exactly. Is there a habit? Is there a routine? Is there something I’m supposed to be doing? This is not something that is a ritual. It is between you and your Heavenly Father, and He knows exactly what you need. I wish I would have done this when I was teaching in middle school, but literally now I have my alarm set. I do push snooze. I probably shouldn’t, but I do, but when that snooze goes off, I have a pillow beside my bed and I go to my knees immediately. It’s not a long prayer. Lord, I pray for your presence to be with me today.
What is your routine? And if you don’t have one, just have something that really helps you connect to Him in the beginning and throughout your day.
As we’ve been in education a long time, we realize that as we teach, really if teaching came with a GPS, it would most likely just say, Recalculating throughout our lessons because of just needing to readjust, to teach in a different way. Honestly, it is a GPS: It is God’s Positioning System. So if we can just have some flexibility in our lessons and realize God is repositioning things, and it will be for His glory, it potentially can even be better than what we had written in our lesson plans to begin with. Wow, that is when our lessons grow beyond what we had written in our lesson plan book.
This isn’t just about developing our lessons. Yes, we have them, but I really believe God wants us to use Curriculum Trak to help us go to that next level of faith immersion to where we become better and our students learn at a different level.
Back in the spring, it was really important for God to speak to me: Dawn, seek Me. And these are the scriptures that I want to share with you: Matthew 6:33, Deuteronomy 4:29, Proverbs 8:17. I actually have a visualization that I need to share with you because it really spoke to me when I saw it. Fill your heart so full of Him that it overflows into everything and everyone around you. I know for me, being in education and administration, a lot of times we get bombarded with some negativity. We get some situations that honestly are just weird when we’re like, where did this come from? And it weighs us down. This is really why I believe God is telling us to seek Him: He’s the one that’s going to give us peace. He’s the one that’s going to take care of what we are going through.
So let me share an illustration with you real fast. This cup is just filled with dirt and water. I put top soil and water in it and I’m stirring it. And I’m going to show you something because as I spoon out some dirt, there goes the negativity. It’s in our lives, it’s distractions, it’s all kinds of things that are coming at us. And I can try to screen this out, which is what we do. We try to pray. We go to church, we do our Bible studies. We do things to really try to get this out. We ask for forgiveness. And we ask the Lord to help us. And He does: the dirt’s coming out, but as you can tell, it’s still really dirty. And honestly, we can feel that way. We can feel overwhelmed. We can feel like we’re not doing enough.
And what God told me in the spring was fill myself up so full of Him, and He will give me peace. You don’t have to do this on your own. This is what He’s saying: Pour so much good, clear, living water, as much as you can. Fill yourself up so full. The dirt starts coming out automatically, and eventually, because I’m focusing on him, I’m focusing on all the good, He’s the one that will take the negativity out. He’s the one that will take the things that hurt us, the things that were unexpected, even especially for me, taking the self doubt from the thoughts that the enemy wants to put in me.
So the more we pour that into our students and they get to know Jesus more, the more they can be molded into who God created them to be.
What habits and routines do you have to access the Holy Spirit in your daily instruction? It’s extremely important to ask Him to come in. How can we use faith learning integration to access your best beyond words in the classroom so students can access their best through the Holy Spirit?
And this is where I’m going to go back to Curriculum Trak, because I honestly believe the Faith Learning Integration piece is a great tool to help us tap into what God is wanting us to do, but yet still have the creativity to allow the Lord to make it our own for each of our classes and each year. I’m going to click on Communication this time, and I love how we have this talking-listening-speech. It is for all grade levels. You can make it fit for your grade and God will use this to make your plans even better. But this is just a starter. This is just to give you, especially for those that are new to Christian education some ideas, where do I even begin? How do I integrate my faith and God’s Word and his life skills into each of my lessons? This is a wonderful platform to use.
God’s wanting to use you, each of you. He’s wanting His love to be poured through you, into your kids. And He wants to empower you every day, every moment, in the morning and in the evening. At the end of the day He just wants you to feel His presence. So this is going to help you allow the Holy Spirit to show up in your class. And this is what I believe is beyond words. You do this in your classroom and when you do this activity and God goes beyond in the classroom, you need to document what He has done. I realize it’s another step, but it is vital.
I say that I’m sharing my failures because this is what I failed to do for over twelve years. I celebrated with the staff. I shared it with my parents. The kids felt the Holy Spirit. They went home and shared it with their parents. I even came home and shared it with my husband. But I didn’t document what God did. What if Samuel didn’t document? What if Mark and Matthew didn’t document when they experienced Jesus? What if we didn’t have those words that they wrote? I believe God wants you to document what He is doing in your classroom so He will get the glory, and He wants to use this for future generations. He wants each year to get better and better because we are remembering. We documented it in Curriculum Trak: this is what God did.
And this is not only for future generations, but it’s for future locations. This could be worldwide. You have no idea the influence that God wants to pour through you to help other teachers, especially new teachers. We have lots of new school startups right now.
Students will find a purpose in the lessons that are beyond what you have written in your plan book, which is amazing. Give God the glory. Acknowledge Him in those lessons. Acknowledge what He is doing. Sometimes the students don’t understand when we get the goosebump moments. We understand what the Lord has done, but they don’t. Give Him the glory and don’t overcomplicate it.
He wants to help us carry the load. And I believe Curriculum Trak is one of those opportunities that He wants us to use to help us. I like to call them spiritual solutions. I believe God is giving us spiritual solutions to help us.
I’ve been talking a lot about how these kids will have only-God moments, but I want to lift the load off a little bit, really fast. Not all students will have those only-God moments. All students are in different places in their lives. They get distracted. They have home concerns. Sometimes we’re just tired. But please have peace knowing that you did what God has called you to do in that lesson, in that time, in that moment. You searched His kingdom first. You found, and you obeyed, and you planted.
You already have what’s needed. You have the Holy Spirit. You have each other as a staff. You have the Curriculum Trak platform. Celebrate it in your teacher’s lounges. Make that a place where it’s confirmation of what God is doing in your classrooms. Administration, use the time in your in-services to celebrate when faith immersion is being done in an amazing way. And allow your staff to celebrate together.
But my final thought is this, seek a Holy Spirit led routine. Have a routine to document what the Lord has done in your classroom to impact generations to come. But in that, I’m going to share something else with you. Use your phone, something simple, use your notes. When God does it, speak into your phone real fast. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just get it in there. And then you’ll have it for future generations and future locations.
Another idea is at the high school level, I had students actually write for me. I think you could identify some spiritual leaders in the class. You could say, Listen, we want to be aware of what God is doing in our classroom, the great things. So if you capture something, write it down. If I look at you and I say, write that down, be ready to do that. Let’s be partners in this. That’d be a great opportunity. And I actually have a couple students now that are writing and it’s actually for their graduation later. They’re sophomores now. But they actually have quotes and things that are happening in the classroom, and they are writing everything in a book. They keep it with them, or put it in a file at the end of the year, and then every year they’ll have this and they can look back and see what God has done in their class.
I pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you to be your best beyond your words. God be with you. Christ be in you. I pray the Holy Spirit overflows through you in Jesus’ name. So I bless you and thank you.