Leila Thomson, Secondary Teacher
It was lovely to return to school this week and to get back into the routines and traditions that serve our school students well. It was great to see familiar faces and new ones. The first week is always exciting, for both student and teacher alike. Eyes are quick to scan new timetables and classrooms, and hearts are encouraged by the care of the Kuyper School Community.
The new year also invites expectancy and excitement around classes and lessons. This pushes staff to consider the meaning and value of our own lives and the subjects we teach to our students. I asked my Year 9 Core class how the first few days had gone for them, and one student replied that it had felt very “normal”. I thought about that and, given the very abnormal few years we have experienced, normal felt reassuring. I felt much the same.
Of course, our idea of normal is always influenced by our own perceptions, experiences and expectations so that our normal is constantly shifting. The Bible teaches us about “normal” human behaviour and how different it is to the perfection of Jesus, who walked on earth as a man. We want students to learn content, but we also want them to learn the truth about themselves and to take the initiative to work towards their own unique goals.
In my Senior History class, we have started a historical inquiry where students can choose their own topic and essay question. This is a new step for them and they need to acquire new skills, responding to feedback as the investigation progresses. I think our desire to inquire and to know is normal for us as human beings. Parents and teachers want to nurture that desire in their young people. Anyone who has spent time with a three or four year old knows that humans like to ask questions. In History we are always asking questions about the past and putting the pieces together in an effort to learn the truth. Truth in history can be distorted, and there are many factors that make the truth hard to find. As historians, we usually end up with what we believe is the most realistic version of the truth, based on the evidence we have found.
By comparison, Jesus teaches us that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
It is my hope that our students and community will consider what Jesus teaches us about truth. I believe that His truth is not distorted. Therefore, it is His normal that we can truly find comfort in.