Hiring someone to work at your Christian school is tricky business. You can look at the resume, the philosophy of education and the statement of faith, but the three pieces only really knit together when the applicant is sitting in front of you at an interview. At our interviews we ask the interviewees to tell us about themselves, summarize the story of the Bible in 50 words or less (nobody has ever done that!), and tell us some words used to describe them by their students or colleagues. However, where we lean forward in expectation is when we ask the question: “If someone were to ask you why someone should send their child to a Christian school – what would you say?”
This is where the rubber hits the road for us, and this is also where we have the potential to be the most disappointed. “High academic standards, a community feel, a place where I can say ‘Jesus loves you’, and being able to pray with the students”, are all answers that are true and good, but that’s not why our school exists. We have turned down applicants that look good on paper, have excellent teaching practices, love Jesus, but can’t articulate the reason Christian schools exist. So what do we want to hear and why is this important to us?
We want to hear Abraham Kuyper’s words, “There’s not a square inch in the whole domain of human existence over which Christ, who is Lord over all, does not exclaim, ‘Mine’!” We want to hear that because God is Lord over all things, teachers need to help students see God in every subject. We need to hear that God’s calling on our lives to be builders of His Kingdom extends not only to our Bible classes, not only to our devotions, but to geography and the arts. We want our interviewees to know that faith in God and His restorative work in our world must be seen in everything we do.
So, if we are teachers in a Christian school, how do we do that well? We integrate our faith in our pedagogical practices and curriculum! We ask ourselves, what is God calling our students to do with the math lesson on graphs? We ask ourselves, what does this unit on immigration teach us about God’s world, in the community that God has placed us in? Students need to see that God must have an impact on every square inch of their life. God’s story of creation, fall, redemption, and reconciliation must be so deeply implanted in us that it exudes in our lessons, units and projects. At our Christian school, we get to be an example to our students that God isn’t just the God of Sundays, or our God between 8:30-8:50 on weekday mornings. Instead, He is our God of our lives 24/7; He is our God in our language arts, history and physical education. Working to integrate the story of God’s kingdom in our daily curriculum is a challenge we face when we create, teach and assess our curriculum – we need to ask how this curriculum impacts the lives of our students as they work out their role in God’s story both now and in the future.