Thursday, June 21, is the first official day of summer. But for all my teacher friends, the first day of summer started the minute those lovely yellow buses left the school parking lot. In fact, we teachers have been known to be in our cars, gunning our engines, vying to be first out of the gate, right behind the buses.
So, even though it’s official this week, teachers across America have been celebrating summer for several days now. And in June and July, teachers don’t even care how many times they hear people obliviously say, “You teachers have it so easy; you get the whole summer off.”
We know the truth and will debate you on the subject come August, but for now, most teachers are just too happy (and exhausted) to argue or complain.
Now, for parents of school-aged children, the advent of summer might not be so thrilling. That’s why I love this quote I saw online, “Summer – the time of year when parents realize just how grossly underpaid teachers really are.”
Good teachers definitely deserve our respect, admiration, and prayers. And Gateways to Better Education is determined to minister to those dedicated educators.
Founded in 1991, Gateways has one objective – to equip Christian students within the public school setting to freely share their faith while gaining an academic appreciation for the impact of the Bible and Christianity on our national history, culture, and values.
In a recent interview with AFA Journal, the founder and president of Gateways to Better Education, Eric Buehrer, revealed that, as a veteran educator, he feels a great burden to empower and equip teachers and school leaders. Subsequently, Gateways seeks to empower Christian educators with educational tools and knowledge that are “culturally accurate, academically expected, legally supported, and morally imperative.”
On Gateways’ website, Buehrer shares a list of aids offered to educators:
- Professional development seminars for teachers
- State Academic Standard Summaries for teachers and school leaders, along with State Law reviews
- University online modules for Departments of Education
- Seminars for parents
- Lesson plan ideas for teachers
- Small group DVD Bible Study
- Practical articles and tools for parents and teachers
- Radio commentaries, e-Newsletter, Gateways Minute videos, President’s blog, and more.
“Faith, Freedom, and Public Schools: Addressing the Bible and Christianity Without Mixing Church and State” is Gateways’ online professional development course for public school teachers. This self-paced video program offers eight sessions, four centered on confidence-building information and four on practical applications of the course within the classroom setting.
Scholarships for qualified teachers are available right now for Gateways’ summer session. Click here for more information and to read the encouraging testimonials of other Christian teachers who have completed the course. They all agree that the information garnered from this online course taught them how and why Christian teachers could (and should) confidently and freely share the Bible within the context of their curriculum and lesson plans.
I especially love the fact that “Faith, Freedom, and Public Schools: Addressing the Bible and Christianity Without Mixing Church and State” is self-paced. For truthfully, most teachers work almost as hard or harder in the two summer months preparing for the coming year.
And between planning, writing, and crafting new lessons, most teachers also totally revamp their classrooms during the summer, largely at their own expense. Nothing lasts long when 30 pairs of hands are touching and using items daily, so supplies have to be replenished as well as the décor.
Teachers are also responsible for keeping their licenses updated, so they often use the summer months for continuing education by attending summer workshops for their school, their district, their state, and for their own personal learning.
But individual continuing education courses can get really expensive. So, the scholarship offered by Gateways for this professional development course is such a unique, double blessing for teachers – a faith-friendly course with a scholarship provided for qualified teachers.
Perhaps those outside the world of teaching may not understand how remarkable this online course really is (although it may not be accepted for continuing education credit in your state). But for most Christian teachers, it is difficult to find and afford continuing education courses that line up with student needs, district needs, and personal, spiritual needs. After all, a lot of the material being taught out there in the secular education world is liberal progressive propaganda.
So, most of the time, Christian teachers simply have to put on their spiritual armor and take whatever courses are available to update their teaching credentials. In the process, they try and take tidbits of good information and pair it with godly wisdom and biblical teachings in order to grow as an educator.
And believe it or not, many educators out there love the Lord and love their students. Not all, but many more teachers than you would imagine are believers. In fact, Barna Research Group did an extensive poll in 2014; it showed that almost 50% of public school educators are Christians and 84% of churchgoers send their children to public schools.
Those statistics demonstrate that the ministry of Gateways to Better Education is so important. In fact, Gateways’ work is vital to the continuation of American, Judeo-Christian values and principles.
As Buehrer so aptly stated, “Our mission is to create a better future for children by keeping God in their schools.”
Editor’s Note: In the upcoming August issue of AFA Journal, Eric Buehrer will thoroughly discuss how Gateways to Better Education works to ensure that faith and freedom coexist in America’s public schools.