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February 2015

So You Want to Work in a Healthy Workplace?

Let’s say you’re looking for a teaching position. You want to work in an excellent workplace—a healthy workplace, a workplace where you can flourish. What would that look like? What would be happening? When I ask people what a healthy workplace looks like, they say things like: I feel valued for the work that I […]

Decreasing Stress in the Classroom

Colton sits with his head down on his desk catching a few extra minutes of sleep. Anna chews absentmindedly on the end of her pencil, worrying about the spelling test this afternoon. Noah stands guard by the door waiting to explain that he spent the night at his mom’s house and left the homework at […]

When the Unthinkable Happens: Crisis Response in the Christian School

Parents drop off their children at a Christian school entrusting those most precious to them to the guidance, care, and supervision of others. Besides academic achievement, they anticipate an experience characterized by safety, faith-driven relational practices, and missional growth opportunities. When tragedy strikes that Christian school—an accident, violence, suicide, or natural disaster—the simple fact that […]

Teacher Self-Care

Twenty years has elapsed since I was a classroom teacher, but I remember the anticipation and excitement that accompanied the beginning of each school year. I loved preparing my classroom for the onslaught of eighth graders. Each year brought new students, challenges, possibilities, expectations, requirements, and excitement. I imagine the feelings being much the same […]

I Hear the Chickadee Calling

Once the first snow flies, there is a hum of activity around the various bird feeders outside our windows. In November, a pair of cardinals arrived, beautiful in their bright scarlet coats against the freshly fallen snow. Blue jays, proud and chattering merrily, dominated the large feeder, sending the little birds scuttling away. Early one […]

Songs Sung Blue: Everybody Knows One

Teachers don’t typically rely on pop tunes for advice, at least not Neil Diamond. This, however, might be an exception, especially if you’re having a particularly hard day. Generally, teaching is a tightly choreographed dance in which there are few surprises. Good teachers, like good actors, want their steps to appear as natural as possible, […]

Managing Stress

In keeping with this issue’s focus, John sent out the following question to the members of the panel: Based on your experience in Christian schooling, what advice would you give to new teachers or administrators about dealing with the stress that is inherent in our work, or about ways they can support students dealing with […]

Of Meatballs and Moustaches, or The Ferret, the Wrench, and the Board Probe

Bedlam Christian School had been closed for four days after the accident. This was their first day back. A glum and heavily bandaged Gordon Winkle sat at the table in the Bedlam faculty lounge, his finger lightly tracing the burnt stubble beneath his nose where his once glorious moustache had resided. No one sat beside […]

Understanding and Overcoming Self-Harm

This article first appeared in the Fall 2014 Shalem Digest, published by the Shalem Mental Health Network. It is reprinted here with permission. There are times when I’m left a little dazed and confused by my kids’ decisions; they seem completely convinced that their choices are appropriate, yet from my vantage point, their decision-making seems […]

Healthy Workplaces

We have all seen it—students who are overwhelmed by discouragement at their inability to “meet the standard” expected of them in their studies. Students who live with loss and brokenness in their families. Students who struggle with depression so deep that it causes them to consider suicide. Students who engage in self-harm. Students who experience […]

Cultivating Grace-Shaped Communities

“Forty percent of the students in my senior-level university class have diagnosed mental health disorders,” she said quietly, “and I have an individualized learning contract from the disabilities office for each one.” She went on to describe how this epidemic has changed her role and her style as a professor. During the eight years that […]