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February 2018

When Teaching Gets Tough

In his money management course Financial Peace University (FPU), Christian financial counselor and best-selling author Dave Ramsey tells his audience something to the effect of “your parents never talked about sex; they never talked about money; you thought they had neither; turns out they had both!” In a humorous way Ramsey identifies at least one […]

Social Media and Christian Schools: What Are We Going to Do?

Katie (not her real name), a high school junior, walked briskly toward her first hour class, making sure to get in the room before the bell rang. As she approached the door, I waved a greeting and said, “Good morning, Katie!” No response. Katie, normally wide awake and talking with friends, walked silently, her head […]

Porn: Can We Talk about This?

I recently turned 41. Calling to wish me a happy birthday, my mom reminded me (again!) that when I was born, my grandparents were visiting family in the Netherlands. My dad sent them a telegram to tell them that all went well: “Mother and baby are doing well. Stop. His name is Aaron Isaac. Stop.” […]

Faithful Citizenship and Political Conversation in the Classroom

Politics is unique in its capability to divide. By nature it is contentious and oppositional, drawing lines and setting people and groups against each other in their interests, policy agendas, underlying moral commitments, and basic understanding of both the means and ends of governmental power. Such conflict is actually a positive in a healthy political […]

When the Teaching Gets Tough: Sexuality and Gender

Teachers in Christian schools care deeply about students’ well-being and growth in discipleship to Jesus. When faced with tough questions about sexuality and gender, we want to do what’s right, what will help students flourish, but the path to that end isn’t always clear or easy. In this piece, I offer some thoughts on the […]

To Expel, or Not to Expel—That Is the Question

Teachers and administrators in Christian schools face any number of issues that make teaching very difficult. In my experience, one issue is the decision about when to expel a student. This decision poses unique difficulty for Christian educators for a number of reasons. Christian schools, in my experience, strive toward the goal of creating a […]


In preparation for this issue’s P@nel.Edu column, Christian Altena, Justin Cook, Rebecca DeSmith, and I (John Walcott) sat down together via video conference to discuss our thoughts about “when teaching gets tough.” I began by asking the panelists to give specific examples of difficult teaching situations and how they handled them. What I did not […]

A Day in the Life

On Sunday, September 10, 2017, one of the biggest hurricanes in history slammed into the Florida Keys. Hurricane Irma’s projected path and strength prompted the largest evacuation of Florida in history. Irma first came on my radar (pun intended) the weekend before it hit. If there is a positive side to hurricanes, it is the […]

Timid New World; or, Fear and Loathing in the Board Room; or, Childe Christina to the Dark Tower Came

Bible teacher Cal VanderMeer was sipping coffee and perusing the newspaper when his colleague, English teacher Christina Lopez, dropped into the seat next to him with a sigh so heavy that it actually ruffled the newspaper in his hand. He glanced up to see an expression he would have described as forlorn, perplexed, and angry […]

Retire at Nobella Ville

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