From gently placing an ice pack on a swollen knee to facilitating restorative justice circles for broken friendships, Victoria Mulock’s work as a first and second grade teacher at Heritage Christian School in Lindsay, Ont. is characterized by relationship.
“As a teacher, I know I am a role model that others emulate. That spotlight requires me to choose very carefully how I can live a life of integrity and godliness,” says Mulock, a 2016 Redeemer University College Education program graduate. “The Bible has a lot to say to those who are given positions of power or authority, and I think that teachers, who each have young people placed in their care, are doubly accountable for their practice. Jesus certainly had a lot to say to the scribes and Pharisees about their use of power and influence!”
Teachers are daily role models that students quickly learn to imitate – sometimes this is endearing, like picking up a favourite turn of phrase, or practical, like adopting a new approach to homework. But that mimicking also reflects the hearts and character of students and their teachers. “When I teach, I teach ‘myself’ to students,” says Redeemer’s director of teacher education Dr. Phil Teeuwsen. “That is humbling, perhaps even frightening, realization.”
Each morning, Redeemer University College Bachelor of Education alumni welcome their students to classrooms right next door in Hamilton, Ont.; across Canada in provinces like British Columbia; and around the globe in countries like England, China and Honduras. “These teachers came to Redeemer with an awareness of the importance of the integrity of their beliefs and their teaching,” Teeuwsen reflects. “They participated in a teacher education program that encouraged this integrity and pushed them to define and refine their skills.” Now, they teach all kinds of learners – from many cultures, with different abilities and a myriad of personalities.
These teachers are shaped by nothing less than a radically biblical vision for education and for educators. “We teach from the perspective and faith that there is nothing that can be learned that is not God-breathed,” Teeuwsen continues. “We teach from a perspective that situates us in the biblical story.”
Following this biblical vision, Redeemer’s education program roots competency in the character refined by candidates’ values and beliefs. “Education gets at the heart of students and teachers,” Teeuwsen says, “and so teacher education builds character while it also focuses on competency.” Intellectually, teachers strive to meet the needs of each learner while creating learning communities from classrooms. “Spiritually,” Teeuwsen says, “teachers give of themselves and so must come to terms with who they really are in deep ways.”
In Mulock’s classroom, faith shapes her identity and practice. “I see every child as the handiwork of God, created specially in his image. Students, by virtue of this imago dei, deserve a high-quality education infused with godly wisdom, biblical principles and dignifying discipleship. Teaching students how to think critically and be discerning as God’s children in a broken world is paramount to me.” Of course, Mulock’s influence shows. “Here, I find many students asking difficult questions and thinking deeply about faith and how the stories of people from the past affect their lives today.”
This article is sponsored by Redeemer University College. Redeemer University College is a Christian undergraduate university offering programs leading to Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degrees. From its Hamilton, Ontario campus, Redeemer has prepared graduating classes – the next generation of Christian leaders – for more than 30 years. Redeemer students are being shaped by the Reformed Christian commitment to see faith woven through all aspects of learning and life. From the classroom to the convocation stage to careers and churches, our faculty, students and alumni are making an impact that resounds in our culture and across the world. Learn more at www.redeemer.ca.