Faith Learning Statement: Janice Kooiker, First Grade Teacher
I love first grade! I am so grateful for each student and the opportunity I have to teach each one about math, reading, writing, Bible, science, social studies, and other life lessons along the way. The development of each child takes a committed partnership between God, parents, and the teacher. In order to be the best teacher possible, I must spend time and imitate the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ. God holds teachers at a high standard, and it’s a calling that I do not take lightly (James 3:1-3). It is my prayer that I can be used by God to equip these young children to impact their world for Jesus Christ.
During the first week of school I teach the kiddos in my classroom Hebrews 13:5 and Deuteronomy 31:8, that God will never leave them. We discuss how we have a lot to accomplish during the school year, but if we have a relationship with Christ, we are not alone. This is a verse we revisit throughout the year to help kids begin to understand that God is always there, He loves each one, and we can ask Him for help.
In the classroom we learn about the love mandate (Matt. 22:37-38) in various ways. Since God requires us to love Him and love others, we need to demonstrate that love because love is a verb. We have many opportunities to exhibit love to God and to others as we play on the playground, participate in classroom learning activities, worship the Creator in chapel, or eat in the lunchroom. Because we are sinners, our shortcomings provide a chance for us to practice love, mercy, and grace to those around us.
Integrated in our classroom is the mission mandate (Matt. 28:18-20), as we learn to share Christ with others. We put this into action as we participate in classroom service projects. Another natural way for children to share God with others is having them hide God’s Word in their heart. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly children can memorize Bible verses and are eager to share these verses with others.
As parents and I partner together and teach the kids about His mandates and biblical truths, Jesus will be our common ground and stronghold. It is my prayer that these biblical principles will be internalized in each child’s life. Together, with Christ, we can equip our students to impact their world for Jesus Christ.