It’s All About Relationships

its all about relationships

Last week I had one of those days that reminded me of why I became a teacher and why I still love working with other educators. Our faculty and staff gathered for in-service training about relationships and why they matter in education, especially in Christian education. Beyond the lesson plans, the state-mandated testing, the schedules, and the report cards, relationships with responsible adults who care matter the most to students. When students return, even as adults, to talk with their former teachers, it is not to focus on the content of courses they took, but to reminisce about relationships and the way their teachers invested in them.
Teachers led the discussion to learn more about one another and to inspire their colleagues to be vulnerable in sharing practices that build relationships within the school community. Using “Today’s Meet” and Twitter provided an on-going visual discussion throughout the meeting. Testimonies about how teachers lovingly discipline, how they use differentiated strategies to reach all learners, how teachers inspire students to use their gifts of creativity in learning, or how teachers build camaraderie with humor and genuine friendships were shared as evidence of how ECS is already investing in relationships. Highlights of the in-service hour included discussing how to publicly share our stories as part of the ECS community, recognizing teachers and staff by name for the way they are contributing to the mission of our school, and simply taking the time to focus on why relationships matter. As one teacher said, “Keep in mind that you willingness to share your best practices can bring great support to the work of those around you.”
In 2 Corinthians, Paul boldly shared what he had been doing for the gospel, not to bring credit to himself, but to challenge others to stand firm in their faith and to do the work God had set before them.
“We’re not in charge of how you live out the faith, looking over your shoulders, suspiciously critical. We’re partners, working alongside you, joyfully expectant. I know that you stand by your own faith, not by ours.” 1 Corinthians 1:24
Now here’s the exciting part. At the end of this hour of training, all staff was challenged to choose three students (or other individuals in the school community) to pray for in the coming weeks. As each person typed in “first names” of those they would pray for in “Today’s Meet”, names began to scroll on the screen. The “training” was transformed to “action”, as teachers focused on the students they would pray for and pursue. It was a beautiful picture of how God pursues us, because He loves us and wants to be in relationship with us.
In the spirit of collaborating, and to recognize the work of my colleagues, credit for the quoted portions of this blog post goes to Nicci St Clair, 5th/6th Literature teacher (and leader!). Other leaders responsible for the ideas and discussion highlighted in this blog are: Mike Allen, Tyra Harnishfeger, Brian Comstock, and Eric Miller.  I am so grateful to be sharpened by these people!

One thought on “It’s All About Relationships

  1. Beautifully written. I can certainly stand as a witness to the effort teachers make to build relationships with their students. My daughters have benefitted from loving & kind teachers who not only care about their academic success, but also their spiritual growth. To know that the faculty is praying for individual students is more than a blessing to me personally and also to our entire ECS family. Thank you so much for sharing!

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