Developing Community

I’ve been thinking a lot about community lately. It’s something we all need — something for which we were created. It’s one of the many ways we reflect the image of our Creator. As John Donne said, “No man is an island unto himself.” And yet, as one of my mentors told me years ago, teaching can be an isolating profession. How often do you go entire days without encountering another adult face? Without having a significant conversation with a colleague? At one of my previous schools, we met daily for morning devotions. That was often the only time I saw my colleagues, but it helped us to forge a bond, to build up community. Because we had taken the time to pray with each other, study the Word together, and share our strengths and weaknesses with each other, we were able to present a united front and model for our students what community should look like. We had a school full of resources to draw from when it came to both academic and spiritual discussions. It was a relief to know that we weren’t in this alone, but that we were part of a larger team — even if we only saw each other for 30 minutes at the start of each day. And when tragedy struck our school, the community we had worked so hard to establish was what allowed us to band together and carry each other (with large doses of God’s grace) through the pain, hurt, and confusion.
How do you foster this sense of community at your school? We’d love to learn from your stories. Comment below.
As members of TeachBeyond, we belong not only to our school communities, but to a larger community, bound together by the goal of transformational education. We may not have the opportunity to meet together on a regular basis (though I look forward to the FarBeyond celebration this April!), but we are privileged to lift each other up in prayer, and to share our resources and ideas with each other. In that spirit, I’d like to share with you three blog/websites that deal with the theme of transformational education.
  • The first is the website Transforming Teachers set up by TeachBeyond member Harold Klassen. This site is full of great articles, links, and other resources dealing with transformational education. If you haven’t ever looked through this website, it is worth the effort. (It may be undergoing its own transformation in the near future, so if you have trouble accessing it, check back in a couple days.)
  • The second is a blog on the Close the Gap Now site, run by Michael Essenburg. This site offers bite-sized, practical application ideas on Christian education, productivity, and empowering others.
  • And finally, there is my blog on the Edmosaic website which will be hosting an on-line discussion group based on Donovan Graham’s book Teaching Redemptively (mentioned in this blog last month).
If you know of other resources that are worth sharing, please comment below. Additionally, if you would like to contribute an article to the OnPractice newsletter/blog, let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.

Becky