Faith and Learning Statement
Jerry Duckworth—MS Social Studies and 6-12 PE and Health
My real heart and passion is to teach American History from a providential perspective. I believe the story of American’s Christian history is one of the greatest stories never told. Showing students that God’s hand has been upon America from the moment the Pilgrims stepped on shore, to being victorious in the Revolution War, and to providing a great Christian Constitution are just a few of the visible highlights of His guidance on our great country. The people God used in American history were not perfect, and many had flaws. It is encouraging to me that He can use ordinary, non-perfect people to achieve these ends.
One of the ways I will seek to weave this providential view of teaching into the classroom lessons is by implementing three mandates from the Bible: 1) to love God and your neighbor, 2) to help students become disciples, and 3) to learn about caring for God’s creation and His world. Here are some specific ways I will try to achieve these expectations:
Love God and Neighbor: in Social Studies, I will use various journal entries for students to consider how they may use material possessions to win souls for Jesus. In Health I will use the Willing to Wait program about abstinence.
The Great Commission: in Social Studies I will use the Columbus debate and Puritans to discuss and compare their views of what it meant to be a Christian. In Health I will challenge students at the end of the course with setting goals on how they will relate with other people within the body of Christ.
Caretaker: in Social Studies I plan to use the Senate Session and the Washington DC trip in the spring to demonstrate good stewardship. In Health I will use God’s Pharmacy and how some foods reflect His design and care for our nutritional and physical needs.
As a Christian school educator I have come to view my role as a teacher-learner. Even though I give students information and am the authority in the classroom, I am still learning about history and health along with the students. Each summer I commit myself to reading extra books about subjects I feel will help me be a better teacher. For example, over the years I have become more knowledgeable on George Washington, Lewis and Clark, nutritional advice, the Underground Railroad, D-Day, and other topics. I also learn with the students when they ask me questions about things I can’t answer. Several times I have investigated their questions and reported back to the class about how this inspired me to learn something new.
Teaching life skills is another goal in my teaching. In health class there is a direct correlation to skills and information they will need to possess now and in the future, whether it be fitness, nutrition, building solid relationships or making a commitment to keep oneself pure. In Social Studies, through the Living Through History year-round project, there are numerous opportunities for development of oral skills, defending one’s point of view, creating, and collaborating with others. Class activities such as Colonial Town building and Senate Session help facilitate this. If a life skill doesn’t fit for a particular lesson, then I try to use activities that recreate and relive events that were important in our history. Role playing in health and history class helps achieve this end also. Taking the 8th graders to Washington DC also brings our past to life. The highlights of the trip are having our students lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and sharing how they were impacted by The Holocaust Memorial exhibit.