When in high school, I decided I would be an English and French teacher because I appreciate languages and the intricacies in them. We serve a creative God who even shows up in language, grammar, etc., and I love that! I also love that literature can point us to God, to His world, and to our place in this world. NPC is a great place to work, and I am blessed to be here.
Faith & Life
Miss. Straayer knew from the age of five that she wanted to be a teacher. After graduating with her teaching degree from Calvin College, where she double majored in English and French for Secondary Education, she taught English in a high school outside of Paris, France. After doing that for a year, she moved back to Michigan and ever since has been teaching as well as directing school plays at NorthPointe. Several years ago she earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, and she is in the process of earning a second Master’s Degree, this one in the Teaching of English.
Something else she loves to do is travel. She has been blessed with many opportunities to do so, both within the U.S. and outside of it (France, Spain, Italy, Israel, Nicaragua, Cayman Islands, Canada, & Mexico). She also loves to bake!
Statement of Faith
God blesses us all with different gifts, talents, and interests. I have always had a passion for language and the intricacies of it. It is amazing to me how God created every little detail not only of English but also of every other language. It shows me God’s creativity and attention to detail. I love seeing the similarities in English and in French, and I strive to let my students see the joy I find in language study. I also show them how the French language and culture have influenced our own language and culture, and how ours have influenced theirs.
God has blessed us with the gift of language. We can use this gift to communicate with him, to praise him, to call on him, to be in a relationship with him. Language is one of the best methods we have to connect with other people, to show Christ’s love to them. We can communicate easily to those who speak the same language we do, but students also have the amazing opportunity here at NorthPointe to learn a foreign language. Unless we learn to leap the barrier of language difficulty, we cannot really love our neighbors well. Through the study of a foreign language, we learn to value other cultures and traditions, and in so doing we can stand in awe of the variety God has created and better love our neighbors.
God has not only blessed us with spoken language, but also with the written word. He gave us his Word from which to learn and to study, but he also gave us the ability to write. In English class we study several different literary works and genres, written by many gifted writers throughout the centuries. I am excited to teach my students about God through these works, to help them read with a discerning eye, and to engage with them in discussions about our faith, about moral issues, and about humanity. In so doing, we learn more about ourselves and about others, how to relate to one another, how to value all people, and how to love them as God’s image bearers.
Matthew 28 gives the great commission to “go and make disciples of all nations”. If we want to share the good news about Jesus Christ, we need to be able to communicate with other people groups. We can do that by learning their languages and their culture. In doing so we are showing them that we value who they are. Only after we have an understanding of their language and of the culture in which they live can we begin to share Jesus with them.
In the French classes here at NorthPointe, I strive to open the students’ eyes to the value, the worth, and the joy of learning about other languages, countries and cultures and looking forward to fulfilling the mission of this school: preparing students to impact the world for Christ. They need an understanding of the world in order to go into it and fulfill this calling.
In English 9, we look critically at two novels set during the Holocaust. These novels often prompt discussions about the need for God in a very dark world, the need for us to be lights in the darkness. We also learn a bit of grammar. This knowledge of grammatical elements can help us better understand the Bible and empowers us to communicate the gospel to others.
Through everything, I wish to both tell and model love for God and our neighbors, and to equip students by means of language study to go out and impact their world for Christ.