Friday, June 23, 2017
What is Transformational Education?
I just finished orientation with TeachBeyond, my sending organization. Part of the orientation included a capstone project. Below are my thoughts on what "transformational education" means for me in my Hungarian public school context.
When God called me to teach Hungarian high school students, I felt that He is calling me to serve Him by serving His children. He has laid it on my heart to love my students like He loves them. I know love because of God alone, and I'm called to share His unfailing love with them by serving them as an English teacher. Ultimately, though, my calling is to show God's glory to my students by living a life that glorifies Him. I'm called to, "Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the people's" (Psalms 96:3). My ministry in Hungary is to show Christ through how I conduct myself as a teacher, colleague and friend.
I'll be in a public high school, and that means certain limitations on what I should say during class time, but because I live my life through a Biblically integrated worldview, I can show Christ without speaking of Christ. My life is a testament to Christ's faithfulness. My teaching in Hungary is a result of obedience to follow God's calling on my life. I'm not going out of my own will--I would never be able to do this on my own. But just by showing up in the classroom, my life can display Christ. My witness is a result of my Biblical worldview and that is apparent even when I'm not verbally sharing Christ. I believe actions speak louder than words, and my dedication to serving my students is equally as important as sharing the gospel. I can maintain my personal Biblical worldview as a public school teacher in Budapest without crossing boundaries. I want my students to feel Christ's love in my classroom and know that I love them because God first loved me. That doesn't have to require words.
Transformational education is a totally new concept to me. This week, I learned so much about the power of education. Education is about change. Education pushes students to grow. This starts on a small scale--one student, one classroom at a time. That small scale can become a much larger scale as students grow up and begin to make changes and spark growth in their communities. Very quickly, education has the power to transform students and societies when teachers that honor God are there to provide quality education. This environment promotes change and student growth. 2 Corinthians 5:20 talks about being an ambassador of Christ and I think that transformational education is about God-honoring teachers serving students as an ambassador of Christ and creating an environment that promotes student growth. I may not get to see immediate changes in my students' lives, but God has called me to be a part of transformational education and He has a plan for each of the students I will have in my classes this year. That's a beautiful truth to keep in mind as I consider the definition of transformational education. It's about God changing students' lives and giving me an opportunity to be just a small part of my students' lives. God uses education to bring change and I'm so very excited to be a part of it.