Many ask the question, what’s the biggest draw to Santa Fe Christian? According to SFC parents, it’s the unique community of believers. Every day, the teachers have the opportunity to connect with their students. As Christian role models, they embrace the ability to pray in the classroom.
A strong emphasis on mentorship
In Middle School, it’s a time of immense growth for most students. They begin to ask tough questions, wrestle with their faith, and deal with challenges they’ve never faced before. The teachers at Santa Fe Christian consider mentorship of utmost importance.
Getting to know their students
As the saying goes, “They don’t care what you know until they know that you care,” and at Santa Fe Christian teachers approach their students with an attitude that shows that they genuinely care. As a result, teachers are able to connect at a deeper level with their students, creating meaningful relationships that positively impact the learning environment.
Providing faith-based opportunities and conversations
SFC teachers are able to pour into students and get them thinking about their faith. It’s not just about modeling prayer. Instead, the teachers view it as a way to encourage students to genuinely think about their faith: to think about why prayer is important, why to pray, and even how to pray. Seventh- and eighth- grade Bible teacher Mark Andriany shares, “I actually made a point to stop praying in my classes. First of all, I wanted to see how long it would take them to notice that we stopped, which was way longer than you would hope.”
Mr. Andriany had a purpose for that experiment: he wanted to help his students understand the purpose of prayer. He explains that in many cases, students are praying for things that will make their lives easier: an A on a test they didn’t study for, or the rain to stop, or a specific outcome they’re hoping will come true. In those cases, he says, it’s like “rubbing some magical genie lamp to make sure God answers our prayers the way that we want him to answer them.”
That, Mr. Andriany insists, is missing the whole point. Instead, he is working to reintroduce prayer to his classes in a way that encourages them to pray more for God’s kingdom and less for their own specific needs and wants. Ultimately, he hopes to help guide his students toward a more mature relationship with Christ and a prayer model that focuses on building the Kingdom.
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Prayer is one way for teachers to model authentic faith to their students. SFC teachers provide students with a model of how to pray while weaving faith into everyday lessons. Teaching through a Christian lens, and incorporating prayer in the classrooms, demonstrates to students the truth that God desires to be a part of every aspect of their lives whether that’s in school, in sports, or one day, in their future careers. By building an early foundation, students discover how faith and learning go hand-in-hand and become part of their everyday lives.
Role models with a love for Christ
In today’s society, it can be a challenge for young people to find a godly role model. Movie and television stars, popular vloggers, even social media influencers are often the main voices kids are hearing. That’s the beauty of education at SFC – students have complete access to a myriad of mentors, positive role models, including teachers, faculty, coaches –those they come in contact with on a daily basis.
“I think the Holy Spirit is really evident here at Santa Fe,” says Jackie Lewis, 5th-grade science and social studies teacher, “it’s really just in every interaction. In everything we do, we are worshiping God. I’m teaching them…and I get to show the evidence of Christ’s joy through that – so it’s pretty cool to just weave everything we do into a worship of God.” Ms. Lewis considers it an incredible blessing to have that faith connection with her students–one that allows her to deliver instruction through a biblical lens while bringing out a love of learning in her students.
Other teachers, including Jessica Martin, 5th-grade teacher, agree. “Our role has shifted from bringing information for students to learn, to cultivating who they are, how to learn and be excited about learning. I think that’s why I love Christian education! Because my passion for Jesus and ministry, and my passion for education and children, collide perfectly right here in the classroom.”
Students’ freedom to discuss
their faith in school
In a public school classroom, students may be dissuaded from talking about their faith. At SFC, on the other hand, students aren’t just allowed to share their faith. Rather, they are encouraged to talk about it, engage with their teachers, and ask the tough questions that are weighing on their minds. For many students, this is a perfect way to grow in their faith.
At SFC, helping students deepen their faith is just as important as providing them with a great education. Mrs. Martin emphasizes, “More than anything, I want a student to leave this classroom remembering Mrs. Martin loved Jesus, and I wanted to learn more because of her.” With that kind of outlook, she strongly believes students are more likely to leave the classroom with greater knowledge and understanding of what they learned while growing into the person God has called them to be.
SFC parents convey a deep sense of comfort knowing that their children are getting a faith-based education every day. Just as teachers are able to nurture and encourage students in a love of learning, they’re able to provide the tools students need to access their gifts, learn more about who they are in Christ, and grow in their faith in incredible ways. The power of prayer has the opportunity to transform lives, and at SFC, it’s an essential part of the daily culture.