Preparing for the New School Year: Part 2 – Go Beyond the Expected
Spirit-directed education begins with a teacher who is overflowing with the Holy Spirit, where personal dedication and consecration are enhanced by being “tuned in” to the Holy Spirit. When this type of person steps into the classroom, the students they serve will be changed forever.
What Type of Classroom is Needed?
In my fifty years as a school administrator, I have walked into hundreds of classrooms, many of which had everything teachers needed to be successful including outstanding curriculum, instructional resources, projectors, smart boards, decorated walls, new furniture, and new textbooks. I’ve seen the Bible on display, and the Christian flag hung in front of the class.
From all appearances, the classrooms look very inviting and offer a mindset for learning. However, most of these classroom attributes are not critical in Spirit-directed education. There may even be Scripture verses relating to the Spirit, posted on the classroom walls.
Likewise, I’ve been in other classrooms that didn’t have a lot of resources or even walls to put things on and teachers had to teach outside while students sat on benches. How about classrooms where students had to carry their chairs to school. Not to mention classrooms where there were no books, or if there were books, a single book might be shared by several students and the teacher considered herself blessed to have one piece of chalk.
A Spirit-directed classroom only requires four things — students, a place to teach, something to teach, and a teacher.
Students are important. If we didn’t have students, there would be no need for teachers. Places are important, but not critical to a Spirit-directed classroom. After all, Jesus taught on the side of a hill, outside along the seashore, on the highway, and in the church.
The curriculum is important, but it is not as critical as the teacher. You can take a less than adequate curriculum and place it in the hands of an experienced teacher, and learning will happen.
A Spirit-directed classroom begins with a Christian teacher who has a willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to work through them. However, this is just the beginning. There are several strategies a Spirit-directed teacher needs to follow if they want to have a Spirit-directed classroom. Let’s consider the first two in this post.
1. Go Beyond the Expected
The first strategy is to be committed to going beyond the expected. The Holy Spirit often works in unexpected ways; You must be prepared for this to happen. How can you go beyond the expected? First, invite the Holy Spirit to work with students in renewing their minds.
In our book, Spirit-Directed Education, we provide strategies teachers can use in the mind-renewing process.
Second, the teacher must train her students to submit their will to their recreated spirit. There is nothing like having students in the classroom who learn how to submit their will to their recreated spirits. You can learn more about surrendering the will in our book, Spirit-Directed Discipline: Helping Johnny and Susie to Behave.
Next, it is a classroom where students are challenged to obey the Word of God. It is the Word of God that must be the standard for all behavior. It is more than just displaying it on the walls, but incorporating it into all that is taught.
You can go beyond the expected by training your students to listen, hear and obey their recreated spirit. The book Spirit Directed Education contains several practical examples of how to train in this area, as well as how to help students filter thoughts and tune to the voice of the recreated spirit.
2. Establish a Climate of Change.
The second strategy in having a Spirit-directed classroom is for the teacher to establish a climate of change. What does a climate of change look like? It is one that is conducive to releasing the Holy Spirit to bring about behavioral, academic, and spiritual change.
Change happens best in a classroom that is loving, caring, and disciplined. Thus, when mistakes are made, they are dealt with compassionately; this sends a message to students that you may not condone what they do, but you still love them; thus, when the Holy Spirit brings conviction to the students because of inappropriate acting or thinking, it will be more easily received, and change can be enhanced.
Next, change is enhanced in a climate of order and efficiency. A teacher should not have to use a whistle to bring students to order. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of order and efficiency; thus, the classroom must be orderly and run efficiently.
Finally, change will happen when a teacher expects and makes room for signs, wonders, and miracles. Isaiah 8:18, says, “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders.” (KJV) Having a classroom where signs, wonders, and miracles happen requires work to achieve and maintain. But, it can be obtained! It begins with the teachers’ willingness to allow themselves to be filled with the Spirit of God and to be used by Him.
When a teacher is prepared to go beyond the expected, and have a climate conducive to change, they are setting the stage for a Spirit-directed classroom; a classroom where the Holy Spirit brings about change in the lives of students.
In our next post, we will present the next strategy in creating a Spirit-directed classroom - Establishing an Orderly Environment.