How often do you come out of an education class (let alone something as daunting-sounding as "Philosophy of Education") with a mind so full that you know you must let it all out before you explode yet so full that you do not even know where to begin! How often do you come out of such a class about education in awe of the Creator, having studied His character, the nature of humanity, and God's mercy in that class! How often do you come out thinking, "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart"? This day 3 of class and this class is an unbelievable blessing. Dr MacCullough did not begin with the academics and the theories so much as she began with the Creator and our root belief system from which every other aspect of our life must flow. She wants us to love God with all our mind -- not just randomly pick and choose from different theories that sound close to Christianity. She wants us to have a sound Christian belief system founded in Christ alone! I've rethought a lot of things this week. I've seen how I have unconsciously let the world dictate my thoughts on education rather than asking what the Word of God says about it (and believe me, there's a lot -- a lot more than I ever realized!). I have separated profession from faith. If I believe such and such about the nature of man, God, sin, etc, how can I separate that from what I do as a teacher?
Today we covered a lot of things. We talked about who has the primary responsibility for the education of the child. If we believe the parents do, then how do we put that belief to practice? How do we encourage parents in their role? Then we talked about the nature of the pupil, beginning with the meaning if "Imago Dei" the image of God. Each human being is alike in that they are created by God in the image of God, but then fallen and no longer accurate image-bearers. Yet each individual is also very different! We had an activity where we picked pairs of Biblical characters (Moses and Aaron, Daniel and David, Deborah and Barak, Peter and Paul) and answered the question: Which one out of each pair would you want in your classroom and why? The point of the activity was that each person was very different but God used them in unique and special ways.
Much as all my other methods and education courses were rooted in God, I don't think I've ever had one so centered around God. This class really isn't about philosophies of education as much as it is about the Creator in all His grandeur and holiness and how each human being is a sinner in need of salvation and each human being is responsible for their actions. Everything we do in that class, everything we discuss is driven by what we believe about God and His world. I thought about a lot of my classes (and there have been a lot!) and a lot of my professors who have changed or greatly impacted my thinking in one way or another and I think I would rate this class and this professor as the top of my top ten. As I've mentioned before, I have indeed learned and grown in awe and appreciation of God and my need to live a holy life from other professors, but this just tops them all.
What have professors taught me at school? Mrs Sparling taught me the need to know the Word and live out the Word (and also the paranoia of yawning with my mouth uncovered because she calls you on it in the middle of class), Dr VanBilliard taught me that math can possibly be understandable and an appreciation of the creativity of God through the complexity and order in math, and many other lessons from other professors... and then Dr MacCullough taught me to rethink why I do what I do and that everything should be done in the light of God's Word and in light of what our philosophy in life is and even more importantly to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.
Sometimes I wonder where God will lead me in the next few years. Will I be one of the "successes"? One of those star teachers that actually made a difference? Will I treasure the training years sitting under the teaching of such committed teachers as Dr MacCullough and go out and apply the tools and grow and expand in teaching and showing the love of Christ to children from all walks of life? PBU has so many success stories -- so many amazing teachers have arisen from this school -- and that is actually quite daunting. There is a standard to live up to -- the standard of this university but more importantly the standard of God as a Christian teacher.
Maybe I should change my major. Just kidding. ;)