How do we form the image of God in the everyday life of our schools? Many seminars, training courses and conferences have focused on teaching content, being a role model in the classroom, and using appropriate teaching strategies. While these things are important, one aspect seems to me to have been neglected: focused cooperation with parents and families.
The influence of our schools on our students’ families became very clear to me when the mother of a former elementary school student invited me to her baptism. I was completely speechless with joy. When she gave her testimony, she talked about the influence that our school had on her and thanked the Lord that she had put her daughter in our school three years before. It made me very aware that we have a much more complex field to cultivate as teachers than I had previously thought. Our new sister in faith spoke of our school’s loving togetherness in everyday school life, of our open ears for problems, and of the biblical principles she experienced. All this strengthened her decision to be baptized.
As teachers, we like to see the fruits of our labor. Since our students have a limited number of years with us, it is often not easy to see the fruits of our spiritual work. If we remember our work as seed-layers for not only our students, but also their families, we will find that God can provide an even richer harvest.
Being aware of what we do and don’t do and behaving in ways that allow the Holy Spirit to work daily on all our students, parents, and educators has an impact on the entire school team. Communicating with families frequently and positively helps with this as well. We need to talk with the families in a more focused and persistent way, for example, about topics that are helpful for both the school and the families, such as:
- Teachers and families sharing their problems and concerns with each other
- Ways to show mutual support during family and school retreats
- Ideas for implementing biblical principles and values in all areas of life
- Theme and procedure suggestions for family devotions
- Agreements on rules of behavior in the social environment
There are many issues that are helpful for school employees and parents to discuss. While discussion is helpful, however, the decisive factor is that we live our mission together in everyday school life.