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First Day at a Christian School


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#1    Paranoid Android

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 07:38 AM

NOTE:  If it's too long to read through how this day at school went (not everyone reads long posts), the points I'm specifically discussing are found in the final paragraph, though any other points of interest you would like to address are welcome :)

As regulars here know, I'm a school teacher by profession.  As regulars here also know, I've recently moved to a rural town from the big smoke of Sydney.  I've been trying to establish my old teaching career again up here, but it's been a bit tough with so few schools in the area.  In any case, the school I've just started in is the first time I've taught outside the public school sector, and it's therefore the first time I've taught in a Christian School.  The first thing I noticed was how Christian the school actually was.  It's not like the secular Christian school (eg, the Catholic system) where it's simply run by a church while the teachers can be of any faith at all, but instead all the teachers are church-going Christians.  In fact, the contract I signed as a Casual teacher required me to regularly attend church, and that if this were to change I would be liable to immediate termination.  Though as a casual they could simply choose not to hire me again, but if I were a temporary or permanent teacher not attending church regularly would be cause for dismissal.

Roll Call began at 9am.  I marked the roll, the kids handed all electronic equipment in, to be collected at the end of the day (a system I wish more public schools would adopt, trying to get kids to focus when all they want to do is take photos and upload them to Facebook is not easy).  Then I was required to lead the class in prayer to begin the day.  Nothing fancy, just the run-of-the-mill commit the day to God kind of prayer.  In my first class for the day, I told the kids to forgive me for any mistakes I make with names or procedure, it's after all only my first day, and they said "Don't worry sir, no one knows everything".  Keeping in mind that one of the classroom expectations is for the teacher to introduce Jesus/God into the discussion I (feeling a tad foolish as I did so) said "well, there is someone who knows everything, do you know who that is"?  These are primary students, if I was teaching a High School class I probably wouldn't have been so "Sunday School" with the do-you-know-who-that-is line, but a kid of course yelled out GOD, I praised her for her awareness.  

In any case, I then supervised a Reading Group of two levels of students who ranged from Years 2 to Year 6, they were scaled according to their reading ability.  Great class, if all my classes were like that I'd be in heaven, teacher-wise.  This went for an hour, and at 10am I had the Year 5 and 6 combined class for maths, they were doing 2-dimensional shapes.  That was fun, the kids were a little more rowdy but on the whole nothing like I'm used to in the public sector.  That finished at 10:30am and I spent the next 90 minutes marking their work.  I was only employed for half a day, so I left at 1:30, after having lunch with some staff, two of whom live less than two streets from me.  

So that's my day in a Christian School.  Primarily I think I wrote this thread to tell you all about how the day went, but obviously there's a bit of a discussion point underlying this in terms of teaching God in the classroom - it's a private school, and the parents know what's going on, but the question on teaching faith in a place of facts deserves to be addressed.  As does the policy of only hiring Christian staff who regularly attend church, and not going to church regularly is grounds for dismissal.  Remember though that this section isn't for sceptical debate, so please don't chime in with "prove God exists" or any other such debate.  Differing opinions are welcome, but I don't want to be drawn into sceptical debate on the issue.

~ Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android, 13 August 2014 - 08:28 AM.

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#2    psyche101

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 08:00 AM

View PostParanoid Android, on 13 August 2014 - 07:38 AM, said:

NOTE:  If it's too long to read through how this day at school went (not everyone reads long posts), the points I'm specifically discussing are found in the final paragraph, though any other points of interest you would like to address are welcome :)

*SNIP lots of good stuff for space*

~ Regards, PA

Sounds like a great first day mate, I am very pleased for you.

From a personal point of view, I do not see that as a real problem, a certain environment has been promised to the community. and being rural, little would go one without everyone knowing about it, so one could be seen as a hypocrite teaching religion, yet not advocating it. I'd just be more concerned about the actual law. Does Religion cross the discrimination line? I cannot see able bodied teachers tearing down the walls to be employed at that school or face starvation, and seems no more abstract than say the different curriculum at a Steiner School. It just seems a different way of doing things, and each community has it's quirks, I see nothing nefarious in such strict guidelines, it would be good if we were all more accountable for our actions I think. Parents pay extra to send their kids to these private schools, and quite a bit sometimes let me tell you. It is encouraging whether one advocates religion or not to see children in such a well organised environment I feel.

Hope your second day is just as good as the first mate :tu: Best of luck with the new spot.

And that's not too long, geez mate, you should see how I rattle on at times.......... :lol: It was very interesting to me.

Edited by psyche101, 13 August 2014 - 08:00 AM.

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#3    Paranoid Android

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 10:05 AM

View Postpsyche101, on 13 August 2014 - 08:00 AM, said:

Sounds like a great first day mate, I am very pleased for you.

From a personal point of view, I do not see that as a real problem, a certain environment has been promised to the community. and being rural, little would go one without everyone knowing about it, so one could be seen as a hypocrite teaching religion, yet not advocating it. I'd just be more concerned about the actual law. Does Religion cross the discrimination line? I cannot see able bodied teachers tearing down the walls to be employed at that school or face starvation, and seems no more abstract than say the different curriculum at a Steiner School. It just seems a different way of doing things, and each community has it's quirks, I see nothing nefarious in such strict guidelines, it would be good if we were all more accountable for our actions I think. Parents pay extra to send their kids to these private schools, and quite a bit sometimes let me tell you. It is encouraging whether one advocates religion or not to see children in such a well organised environment I feel.

Hope your second day is just as good as the first mate :tu: Best of luck with the new spot.
Thank you, Psyche.  I'm doing another half-day tomorrow, hopefully it will be enough to secure more regular work.  

Is it weird that I've never heard of the Steiner School idea?  Perhaps I did here a university lecture on it once and have forgotten it, but reading up on it feels utterly unfamiliar.  Ah well, that's life.  Sounds like an interesting system, in any case.  


View Postpsyche101, on 13 August 2014 - 08:00 AM, said:

And that's not too long, geez mate, you should see how I rattle on at times.......... :lol: It was very interesting to me.
I know, I agree it's not that long.  Several others reading will equally agree.  But I've seen threads as long go to the anonymity of page 2 for no other reason than people are unwilling to read more than 30 seconds of text.  Yes, I consider that an indictment of human thought, and a solid attack on the "popcorn mentality" that the internet has provided - if the answer is not available one paragraph from now, it's not worth searching further :no:

Edited by Paranoid Android, 13 August 2014 - 10:06 AM.

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#4    davros of skaro

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 11:01 AM

Imagine slipping an Atheist Bumper Sticker on one of the Teacher's Car?

Also there's some things I do not want to know, but a God like deity would have to know.

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#5    Paranoid Android

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 11:05 AM

View Postdavros of skaro, on 13 August 2014 - 11:01 AM, said:

Imagine slipping an Atheist Bumper Sticker on one of the Teacher's Car?
Yeah,  imagine ;)


Quote

Also there's some things I do not want to know, but a God like deity would have to know.
I agree, there are things I wish God didn't know about me also :yes:

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#6    libstaK

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 11:28 AM

It does sound like a very conservative school.  Honestly, if I was a student I would be rebellious, I was in my catholic school especially when our whole class was punished on one occasion by doing the Rosary for 50 minutes in the church.  I thought that crossed the line, you are supposed to go to confession and then in penance for your sincere confession you do your Rosary, but apparently whether we were sincerely repentant or willing to "confess" to anything was somewhat of a grey area if the local priest decided you were in the wrong.  The whole class was "in the wrong" because of the transgressions of a few which just stank of summary judgement without a fair hearing too, so that rankled and the Rosary is sacred in and of itself in terms of supplication so saying it to atone for sins you didn't believe you had committed, and by force, well, that just never sat right with me as evidenced by the fact I remember it so clearly even today.

Anyway, that kind of experience makes me biased against too much religion in an educational system, not because parents shouldn't have the right to choose an education that includes the value of faith but because what the hierarchy decides is a true measure of faith and christian living is going to have a personal interpretation on some level and just like that misguided Priest of mine they are prone in their humanity to not always get it right.

I think if you are sincere and in your faith and have your moral compass switched on the environment should not require more than you are willing to give in terms of it's rules.

I get a sense though that you may be wondering where the line is and are giving it some serious thought. You may also be worried on some level If there will be a day that the line is crossed and you have to face whether you are gonna need to stand against the regulations on yet not foreseen but insurmountable moral grounds.

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#7    Paranoid Android

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 11:37 AM

It does appear to be a conservative school, libstaK. Though I don't have any concerns, so to speak. The thread was started as a point of discussion rather than any personal misgivings of the  situation.

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#8    No-thingBornPassion

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 01:09 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 13 August 2014 - 07:38 AM, said:

the question on teaching faith in a place of facts deserves to be addressed.  As does the policy of only hiring Christian staff who regularly attend church, and not going to church regularly is grounds for dismissal.
It's a rose-colored education on the surface, especially since you haven't given us enough info. The usual controvercial subjects are children literature, history, art, music, social studies, and science -- you lucked out with math.

(only hiring Christians...) It's Australia and a private school -- I have no problem with the hiring rule.


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#9    StarMountainKid

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 02:19 PM

You're lucky to be in the company of children on your working days.

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#10    rashore

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 02:52 PM

I think it sounds like you had a rather good start at this school :)


#11    psyche101

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 12:47 AM

View PostParanoid Android, on 13 August 2014 - 10:05 AM, said:

Thank you, Psyche.  I'm doing another half-day tomorrow, hopefully it will be enough to secure more regular work.  

My best wishes mate, hope it works out well for you, I am sure it will :tu:

View PostParanoid Android, on 13 August 2014 - 10:05 AM, said:

Is it weird that I've never heard of the Steiner School idea?  Perhaps I did here a university lecture on it once and have forgotten it, but reading up on it feels utterly unfamiliar.  Ah well, that's life.  Sounds like an interesting system, in any case.  

One of our friends sent their children to one, rather a strange curriculum, reading at a very late age, and an almost "hippy" attitude but the transition to High School must be difficult for students, as there is no "Steiner High" so to speak. Personally, I felt it was not the environment I wanted my children in. Not that many schools around, but one not all that far from me here on the Gold Coast.  The people I know who started their children there eventually pulled out and went public.

View PostParanoid Android, on 13 August 2014 - 10:05 AM, said:

I know, I agree it's not that long.  Several others reading will equally agree.  But I've seen threads as long go to the anonymity of page 2 for no other reason than people are unwilling to read more than 30 seconds of text.  Yes, I consider that an indictment of human thought, and a solid attack on the "popcorn mentality" that the internet has provided - if the answer is not available one paragraph from now, it's not worth searching further :no:

Such a shame, reading is such a pleasure, and the details are what makes these experiences interesting. :tu:

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#12    Rafterman

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 02:35 PM

I'm not really familiar with the laws in Australia, but I would assume that a private school can put those types of requirements on their employees.  I guess you could run into some issues with what constitutes going to church and are there only certain approved churches that count.  

I'm all for these kinds of schools.  If that's your belief, then by all means you have a right to educate your kids in this manner.  I do get concerned about children brought up in fundamentalist schools and how they will react when they get to college and realize that they've stepped out of their fundy god bubble.  I also have a HUGE problem with anyone trying to force religious teachings in a public school environment.

Edited by Rafterman, 14 August 2014 - 02:51 PM.

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#13    preacherman76

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 02:52 PM

God?? Who is this God you speak of? :whistle: Just kidding bro.


Sounds like a interesting place to work. One thing Ive noticed working with hard core Christian children in the past, is how judgmental they can be twards perceived sinners. You dont have to look to far to find out where they get it from. Witnessing it, im glad though. Its really made me look hard at doing all things through love. How can one convince another of the love of Christ, if they dont even believe you love them?

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#14    Paranoid Android

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 03:12 PM

View PostRafterman, on 14 August 2014 - 02:35 PM, said:

I'm not really familiar with the laws in Australia, but I would assume that a private school can put those types of requirements on their employees.  I guess you could run into some issues with what constitutes going to church and are there only certain approved churches that count.  

I'm all for these kinds of schools.  If that's your belief, then by all means you have a right to educate your kids in this manner.  I do get concerned about children brought up in fundamentalist schools and how they will react when they get to college and realize that they've stepped out of their fundy god bubble.  I also have a HUGE problem with anyone trying to force religious teachings in a public school environment.
There are seven denominations represented by teachers, including one Seventh-Day Adventist and a couple of folk from a  pentacostal Church. The rest are fairly mainstream Protestant. Ultimately it's the principal who decide, one of the interview questions he asked me was what my understanding of Christianity was. Personally as these kids get older I'd begin to introduce other world views while still maintaining the primacy of Christ and let them know that most organisations they'd be involved in won't be Christian majority. But currently the school only goes as high as year 8 (next year expanding to 9 and 10) so outside of the  comparative religion class I don't see that as my role this year.

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#15    Paranoid Android

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 03:16 PM

View Postpreacherman76, on 14 August 2014 - 02:52 PM, said:

God?? Who is this God you speak of? :whistle: Just kidding bro.


Sounds like a interesting place to work. One thing Ive noticed working with hard core Christian children in the past, is how judgmental they can be twards perceived sinners. You dont have to look to far to find out where they get it from. Witnessing it, im glad though. Its really made me look hard at doing all things through love. How can one convince another of the love of Christ, if they dont even believe you love them?
I hear you,  preacher. I hope to model and teach tolerance and acceptance through my actions and teaching,  regardless of what  beliefs they hold. I don't know the teachers well enough yet to comment on whether they would, though I hope so. It's pretty secular here, so I'm thinking so.

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My blog is now taking a new direction.  Dedicated to my father who was a great inspiration in my life, I wish to honour his memory (RIP, dad) by sharing with the world what he had always kept to himself.  More details, http://www.unexplain...showentry=27811




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