Last night my daughter, Elise, came home with her report card from her first term in Grade One. As we read through it together, we reviewed the meaning of each category and the grade she had been assigned. Across the page all of her work from the term was marked with a G (Good) or Ex (Excellent), and she was very pleased with getting such positive feedback from her teacher.
Of course, because of her age, such a gift needed to be reciprocated, and so she began to create her own report card for her teacher. Before supper, we sat down together and created our own “Teacher Report Card” for Mrs. Jonker. I have to admit that as I copied out the different categories for her, I began feeling a little playful … Now, we’d hear funny stories about this teacher’s shortcomings, and maybe get more insight about how Elise was really feeling about her school.
With all the categories of her own report card copied, Elise began to carefully review and consider each of the areas listed. This was no joke. How had Mrs. Jonker done in demonstrating her abilities of Faith at School? Was she a “Christ-follower?” and did she “share Christ’s love in the classroom?” What about in Fine Arts? Did she “demonstrate effort”? and did she “explore techniques and media creatively?”
Elise carefully (and seriously) considered each area, citing examples for each about Mrs. Jonker’s abilities. In faith, Mrs. Jonker had a nice tone when talking to the students, so she was evaluated as Excellent. And, in art, her teacher was very creative in arranging the magnets on the classroom’s blackboard and had taught Elise how to hold her brush properly—so Mrs. Jonker’s got an Ex (Excellent) in Fine Arts. In the end, Elise’s teacher was Excellent in everything, and I think Mrs. Jonker will have a wonderful surprise this morning when she receives her report card.
The experience has me thinking about what it really means to have excellent Christian-school teachers. I have always believed that at the heart of Christian education is simply a promise from the teacher to see every student as a little Christ. But, how we affirm this kind of excellence isn’t always clear to me. As the editor of our OACS News Service, I struggle with how we can write stories that focus on such faithful excellence in an engaging story (along with our other articles about school events or projects).
Last night I participated in a way of evaluating and honouring excellence in a Christian teacher. It was done entirely from my daughter’s perspective, and was very genuine. By the end of making her report card, I could see how honouring this was. Because Elise saw her teacher as someone to whom she ministered, I think one of the great things that defines Christian schooling was witnessed. And, it reminded me that such education is more than how the teacher sees the student, but also how the student feels empowered to see (and serve) the teacher as the little Christs that they are.