Adventure Specialists' Advice
December 2, 2016
The ICEC this year was amazing and encouraging, as always. If you haven't had the opportunity to attend this conference before, I would highly encourage you to make the effort in 2018. The keynotes were amazing, there were over 200 workshops, and many opportunities for networking. The best part, as always, was the encouragement. Many times, when we are serving at Dalat, we feel isolated. Sometimes when I attend EARCOS conferences, I feel like we just don't fit in. At ICEC, however, I am reminded that there are many other Christian educators committed to serve God in lands foreign to us. The work we are doing it for eternity, not for this life only.
Two of the keynote sessions were presented by Axis International. They are an organization to committed to ensuring that we don't let the media disciple our kids. They put together a weekly newsletter, "The Culture Translator," to help us keep up with what is going on in the world's culture today. I would encourage you to subscribe to this and use it as a starting point in your conversations with students. We are hoping to bring some of their team to Dalat in the future to speak with students, teachers, and parents.
Another keynote speaker was Mike Potter, head of a group of schools in Australia. His topic was "The Hope We Possess." He referenced a passage in Isaiah 60 about how darkness covers the nations, but the Lord shines on you. He encouraged us to be ambassadors of life and hope in the midst of darkness, which was a great follow up to the Axis presentation on today's culture.
The final speaker of the conference was Stuart Stemple, a Dalat alum and current school board member. He shared lots of great stories about how his Dalat education prepared him for a life of service. However, the highlight was the teachers he mentioned by name who had made an impact on his life. He remember school teachers and staff from the time he was in 2nd grade and was able to pinpoint things they said or did that changed his life.
Please be encouraged that what you say and do in your classroom today may change the course of a student's life for the better. As we have less about 9 days of school left in this semester, let's commit to making every minute count.
Dec. 6: MS Christmas Concert, Grades 5/6 at 6:30, Grades 7/8 at 7:15
Dec. 8: 1st set of comments due, 8 AM
Dec. 8: Last day of X Blocks
Dec. 9: 2nd set of comments due, 8 AM
Dec. 12: 3rd set of comments due, 8 AM
Dec. 12: SMT Christmas Buffet
Dec. 13: 4th set of comments due, 8 AM
Dec. 14: 5th set of comments due, 8 AM
Dec. 15: Grades verified by 5 PM
Dec. 15: Last day of school; 11:00 Awards; 12:30 dismissal
Dec. 16: Last staff work day; Christmas party
The Care Factor
A few weeks ago our authentic transformation action team took a day to review spiritual life survey data for grades 5-12 . We read comments from every students in those grades related to Bible class, SEW, chapels, etc…. There were some hilariously funny (to us) comments, some comments that made my heart sad, and everything in between. One of the things that struck me the most was a theme that came out in every single grade level. When students were asked what they liked about their Bible classes, a common thread was that they liked their Bible classes because they felt their teachers cared about them.
It’s interesting that teachers caring is so important to our students, because as I’ve noted before, research shows that feeling cared for will double a student’s learning in a class. Why do I bring this up at this time of year? I’ve noticed that most of my students seem tired, stressed, and in need of encouragement. It’s that sprint to the finish line, and it’s an intense time of year for all of us, not just the students. If you’re like me, I’m trying to get ready for juggling finals, my kids’ Christmas parties, grading final assignments, and report card comments. It’s easy to get a bit distracted by all the busyness and forget to show students we care. I hope this simple reminder will help you pause for a moment and consider how you can show your students you care. If you need some ideas, here are a few:
1. Start class by asking who is feeling sick, tired, or stressed (it will be everyone), and pray for them
2. Buy a treat from Stuco or the Junior Class Store and surprise your class with it
3. Read an encouraging passage of Scripture to your class and tell them you are praying this passage for each of them
4. Just tell them you care about them and are glad you’ve been able to teach them this semester
As one of my students said in a class journal entry recently, “If we all encouraged each other more often, none of us would feel so down!”