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Paranoid Android

First Day at a Christian School

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Posted (edited)

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
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Posted (edited)

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
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Posted (edited)

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.

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

Yeah, imagine ;)
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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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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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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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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You're lucky to be in the company of children on your working days.

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

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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:

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.

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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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

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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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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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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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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.

That must have been an interesting conversation. Specifically the part where the teacher explained that only they were the true christians and that all others would be obliterated from existence. Oh and then there's the part when the teacher said that keeping the sabbath includes not even going to church on Sunday and that any christian that does so is marked by the beast. Can you say AWKWARD.

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OK, PA, now you've had a few days under your belt. How do you feel about teaching in a school where it's not only OK to express your Christianity, but are actually expected to?

Do you detect any gaps or deficiencies in your students' education?

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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

I think it is wise to get the experience of teaching in a Christian School yourself, it will only make you a better teacher, better able to serve the kids you are blessed to teach. As a learning coach myself for the last 9 years, slated to start school February of 2015 towards my teaching degree; not only have I tutored over the years, I have had an amazing opportunity, full time, to work with a young lady who came on board when she was failing, with little hope of graduating. I am pleased to say she is thriving and together we have both learned a lot. The charter movement in my state supports and allows for this option. Our journey ends this year. I will not be going into the public school system, I will continue along my path as an educational life coach. There is a great need for an alternative where kids can get one on one. I want to create a situation where this is possible. I have been so blessed to have mentors that have truly helped me when I started my journey with my son 9 years ago, my son is now a junior and will be going into Computer Science. I came into education knowing next to nothing and am a personal testimony what can be accomplished with knowledge and great mentors(other teachers). I intend to give back, just as I have been given to. I am so proud of you Robbie. I look forward to hearing about your journey. God Bless!!!!

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OK, PA, now you've had a few days under your belt. How do you feel about teaching in a school where it's not only OK to express your Christianity, but are actually expected to?

Do you detect any gaps or deficiencies in your students' education?

I couldn't say that after two half-days that I can accurately gauge a whole class of students. I know some of them have had rough childhoods, been through more than anyone should at their age, I knew that before I asked the regular teachers why student x may be the way he/she was.

As to expressing my beliefs in class I haven't really had the chance except that one example in the OP. Does feel strange praying for a whole class of students, but I've done with youth camps many times, so the only real difference is that I'm being paid to do it this time.

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Sounds like a good school and the kids seem nice

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I did some research on this issue and was surprised (although I shouldn't have been, knowing the complexity of state /federal legislations) just how little right a teacher has in religious schools. It varies a lot, from Tasmania's quite strong laws protecting a teacher from discrimination, through to much more liberal laws, allowing religious schools (where the religion is an integral part of the teaching) almost unfettered right to discriminate.

I found this article interesting, and you might too, PA.

http://www.mulr.com....34_2/34_2_2.pdf

As a result we have religious schools which celebrate the arrival of a lesbian couple's child in the school community, through to ones where having a child outside of marriage, or being in a gay relationship, would be grounds for dismissal.

Ps I am getting near retirement age anyway, but I have been seriously thinking over some job opportunities in the local Lutheran school which I would easily qualify for. While the work expectations are high for teachers, the atmosphere and learning environment in the class room is far better than in government schools You can simply ask students who chose not to do any work or are disruptive rude or aggressive to leave. I am getting a bit too old to be abused and physically attacked by students, who then dare me to respond, and having nothing happen to them as a consequence The worst case this year was having a rib cracked by a young teenager who hit me in the chest. When I grabbed his fist and told him I would knock his block off if he touched me again, his response was, "you cant touch me, you'd lose your job"

It was I who was reprimanded for restraining the boy, who was bigger than I am. I told the boss that unless he backed me up a bit more. I would happily go to the police and lay an assault charge. The mother then took the child out of the school and enrolled him elsewhere, but in the meantime he set fire to a bin near the wall of the school and was charged with arson.

Edited by Mr Walker

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