Bethany Bolthouse-Third Grade-Spanish Immersion
My journey to education has not been the typical route. I never planned to become a teacher, nor saw myself as a teacher, yet God continually has guided me into educational settings. Now He has captivated my heart with it. At 19, my lifelong passion for language, culture, and missions led me to accept a yearlong position as a teacher in a mission-run school in Honduras. While in Honduras, I realized that God had given me skills in education, yet I still did not plan to become a teacher.
There I realized God had given me skills in education but did not plan to be a teacher. However, during my last year of college, God guided me to a position as an aide at NorthPointe; there I realized fully the purpose and joy that I find through spending my days with kids and teaching them not just standard curriculum, but also the kindness and wonder and love of God.
The Love Mandate states, “Love the Lord your God… Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-38). This is the foundation of my desire for my classroom. Above all else, I want my class to be a place where the kids can see vividly my love for God and them. I want to help them grow in their love for the Lord and for each other. Weekly, we talk about treating each other with love because God loves us; I want them all to make the classroom a place where every student feels safe and valued. One specific way I try to cultivate their love for God is by giving them time on Friday mornings to come into the class, find a quiet spot, and read their Bibles and/or write in a prayer journal that I have given them. It’s not something that I grade, read, or enforce. I simply want to create the space for God to speak to their hearts and for their love for him to flourish.
The Mission Mandate states, “Go and make disciples…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:28-20). One of the beautiful things about being in a Spanish Immersion classroom is that it is so incredibly easy for kids to see how huge, diverse, and beautiful the world is. As we talk about God’s love for the world, I make them aware of other cultures, particularly in their Spanish-focused education. In addition to showing them God’s love with the world at large, I desire to teach them that we can share who God is with the world right around us as well, starting with our next door neighbors.
The Image Mandate states, “Let us make man in our image…Be fruitful…fill the earth…subdue it…rule over every living thing” (Genesis 1:26 & 28). Through the way that I treat my students and the way that we talk about the world, I strive to show them that each person holds immeasurable worth because they are made in the image of God. I am personally passionate about caring well for God’s creation. I love to share that with my students. It comes through naturally in so many ways, from sharing my awe at the intricate structure of plants to explaining why it is important to use our classroom resources well and how it harms God’s creation when we don’t. I pray my students will leave my classroom with a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the earth and a higher value for everything that God has placed on it.