When first-year teachers begin teaching, they discover they are responsible not only for themselves but also for a whole classroom's academic, social, and spiritual development. Jean Buller, chair of the education department at Pacific Union College, describes this first year's experience as a "culture shock".
Pacific Union College's education department is dedicated to supporting their new teachers even after they graduate. They plan events such as the February experience, at which all first-year teachers come back to Pacific Union College to meet and share their experiences with their professors and fellow first-year teachers.
The education department professors also make it a point to call or write to their first-year teachers, encourage them, and give helpful hints on classroom survival.
This year the education professors decided to add another element to the support system--prayer.
The education department now begins their faculty meetings by praying for two new teachers, two student teachers, and several current education students that are completing their courses. Buller said, "We pray for these individuals during our faculty meeting as well as in our personal devotion time."
This idea has also blossomed into a colorful prayer board displayed in the department's foyer. The board lists the names and schools of the teachers and students who are being remembered in prayer for the week.
The prayer board's impact has already been evident in one first-year teacher's life. Dr. Ginger Ketting, assistant professor of education, recently received an e-mail from a teacher who was stressed by the long hours she was putting in and the standardized tests she was currently administering. Ketting shared this e-mail with other education professors, and they put her name on the prayer board. The student recently wrote a letter of appreciation expressing her thankfulness for knowing she was being prayed for and supported by Pacific Union College.
Buller is a strong believer in the abilities of all the first-year teachers who are working this year. "We have faith in their talents and the commitment they've made to serve the Lord," she said.
Buller wants to encourage everyone to join in the education department's prayer board campaign. "Call us anytime at the education department if you want to pray for our students and teachers."