The fact that I still feel a tension between my faith and social justice theories in my education does not grieve me as much as it did last year. I am coming to see my Jesus in much of the theories that I study in my classes. He is everywhere. So much of what these great social justice educators theorize can be summed up in Jesus' ministry. So much of His ministry can be found in the lives of my friends who sacrifice their lives to serve those the world has forgotten.
For my thesis I want to make some general recommendations to teacher preparation programs. The goal will be to design a class that teachers in training would need to be better equipped to teach in urban schools.
My general recommendation for teachers in training? The "ghetto" is where you will be able to find a job. The "ghetto" is the place that needs good teachers. If you consider yourself a good teacher, you should teach in an urban area. It is not easy. Be prepared to die to all you think is the "best" and "right" way to do things. Be prepared to learn a new way of teaching and acting. Everything that you think about the world is about to be challenged. But if you teach in the hood, you will have more rewards than you can imagine. You will see students do things that no one thought possible. You will be apart of changing history. You will never be the same.
Sound familiar? If you say you follow Jesus it should:
- "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Jesus in the Gospel according to Mark 1:17
- "He must deny himself and take up his cross (a symbol of humiliation, suffocation, extreme pain, and death) daily and follow me." Jesus in the Gospel according to Luke 9:23
- "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and lean what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Jesus in the Gospel according to Matthew 9:12.
- When the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest, Jesus replies "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all" Gospel according to Mark 9:33
- The many miracles of healing and redemption.
Basically, I want to write a curriculum that trains and empowers teachers:
to give some good news to the poor who can't afford to pay the high cost of teachers with low expectations and colorblindness any longer
to proclaim freedom for the children who are locked in the prison of schools' tracking systems
to give back the sight they have stolen so the blind may see a way out of their conditions
and to proclaim that high expectations and a true caring will be the norm in their classrooms.
(Luke 4:18-19 in my own words)
I am coming to see more Justice in the church as well. Believers who care and believe deeply in the helping right the wrongs in our society. They are willing to make huge personal sacrifices in order to do it.
Maybe that is the overlap. Jesus is in what I am studying ...even if Christians don't embrace all the hard parts of Justice and the academia doesn't embrace Jesus. Jesus is in me. The overlap is happening in me. May both sides see more of the other in me.