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Travelling teacher reflects on Christian education career

Written on June 8th, 2011

Jackie Brinkman has been back in Ontario for 10 days, having spent the last two years teaching at Hillcrest Christian School in Jos, Nigeria.

And while she didn’t know it when she left to teach in Nigeria, she is now changing careers after being a teacher in Christian education since 1976.

Brinkman spent 16 years teaching at Knox Christian School in Bowmanville.

“I just felt God leading me to leave my career at Knox to allow younger teachers the opportunity to teach, because it was wonderful for me and I just wanted to allow them the opportunity to have the blessing of teaching in a Christian school,” she says.

In addition to the years at Knox she taught at Willowdale Christian School, Northumberland Christian School and a stint at Trenton Christian School. Brinkman also took some time off as a stay-at-home mom and travelled with her husband and children over the years.

She left to teach in Nigeria partly due to wanting to do something different and a desire to teach overseas.

Hillcrest is a private international school with a purpose to serve international missionary children, but now has more Nigerian children as the school offers higher quality education than others in the area.

Brinkman says she would “highly recommend” the experience of teaching at Hillcrest.

“It was just wonderful to be in a different culture,” she says, noting the people in the community were very supportive.

She says she enjoyed the opportunities to meet different people and hear their stories of their ministry and miracles.

There were crises going on while she was there, such as a bomb exploding three kilometres away on Christmas Eve, showing what some people experience daily.

“Seeing their faces in terms of keeping strong and wanting to make a difference and wanting their country to have less corruption and to move forward, all around it was just an amazing, wonderful blessing to us and we hope we were a blessing to them,” says Brinkman.

She says her years teaching at Knox “were wonderful,” noting the school board were gracious and supportive of her leave time.

“It’s good to leave on the happy memories,” she says.

One of the fond memories she has is taking her students on mini-excursions to her home, three doors away from Knox, for Christmas and end-of-year parties.

Caring for the environment was a key message Brinkman says she hopes she has implanted in her students.

Brinkman says Hillcrest has job openings and is looking for committed Christian teachers who are willing to stay for a period of time. She notes because the costs there are minimal teachers can save on the pay they earn. Anyone who wants to talk to her about her experience can e-mail wjbbrinkman(at)hotmail.com.

To learn more about overseas teaching opportunities, click here.