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Heidi Kooistra

Heidi Kooistra
Heidi Kooistra
5th English
Groups: Elementary Staff,Elementary
Employed Since: 8/27/2013
5 Years Experience At School

Faith and Learning Statement

Teaching is not just something I do; it is a passion and a calling in life.  I could not imagine my life with out developing the minds of young kids.  As I begin a new journey in my career, I am also beginning a new role for me.  Christ calls us to go and make disciples and to love as He did, and I am so excited to not just teach, but to guide and walk students in their walk with Christ.  Through implementing these mandates in which God calls us to live our life, it is my hope that our students will truly live their lives as Christ calls us to.

In all stages of life, loving your neighbor as yourself can be difficult to do, but for 5th grade students, this can be exceptionally difficult.  As followers of Christ, we are all called to reflect God’s love for us in how we treat other people.  One should be able to look at our students and teachers outside of school and know that they live their lives in way that honors and glorifies Him.  It is so important that we set aside time regularly to discuss what this means and what it looks like in and out of the classroom.  At the onset of the year, we look at compassion, integrity, and respect and define not just what these words mean, but how we might see evidence of it in our classroom.  They will list what they will see in the classroom when this mandate is happening.  It is so important that students discuss this mandate daily as Christ calls us to have this in the forefront of our minds.  The playground is most likely the place that students seem to forget this mandate, and we will discuss this calling when a conflict does arise.  Students will work through issues using “I statements” to better understand how their actions or words made the other person feel, and brainstorm how they can better reflect God through their actions.  I also would like students to work on forgiveness in this process as God calls us to forgive those that have hurt us.  I will encourage students to use the words “I forgive you” versus “It’s okay” to better connect their words to the process of forgiveness.

Not only do we want our students to be recognized as Christ followers, we want them to be equipped to go and make disciples.  Without the knowledge of how to do this or a solid foundation of their own knowledge, we can’t expect them to spread the word to non-believers.  Just as Jesus’ disciples learned from him by listening, watching, and following Him, we can equip our students to make disciples by giving them role models to listen to and follow.  The Old Testament characters we are looking at this year serve as wonderful stewards and examples of what it means to live a life for God.  As we engage our students in praying, learning Bible verses, sharing, discussing right and wrong, and reflecting on the needs of others, we are laying groundwork for disciple-making. As we learn Bible truths and infuse them into our daily lives, we are making disciples. Jesus’ disciples were being informed, equipped, educated, and led to do His work on earth by them watching him, and our students can do the same by looking and learning from these people from God’s Word.  When they have this solid foundation of knowledge, they are then equipped to impact others.
Not only can our students honor our Lord by loving others and spreading God’s love, they also need to understand that it is important to care for the things that He made and gives to us.  Students will go around the school weekly and collect the recycling from each classroom.  Before beginning this, we will discuss why it is important to take care of God’s earth.  They will walk away with the knowledge of the impact we have on the earth and ways we can take care of it.  Through doing this, students will see the impact they can have on doing this one little task.  Before taking the recycling out each week, we will be able to see the amount of paper recycled in just that week and will be able to reflect at year’s end just how much paper would have been collected over time.  They can make a difference one little act at a time.  When those little acts add up over time, we can have a huge impact!  We can be stewards of God’s resources and treasure everything He made.