A Different Kind of Mission Field

WANTED: The Next Generation of Christian Leaders

Volume 7 | Issue 1 | Spring 2011

Interview with Rebecca Waters

A Different Kind of Mission Field

An Interview with Dr. Rebecca Waters, Field Chair, Professional Education

CCU 514: What is unique about the Education Department at CCU?

Rebecca:Perhaps the most unique feature of the CCU Education Department is our commitment field experiences. Our students engage in field experiences in area schools from the beginning of their course work here at CCU. Each time we send our students into classrooms, we have a specific goal or purpose for them to be in that setting. Students experience a variety of school settings and structures. As a result, we have had many experienced teachers and principals tell us our graduates entering the profession “don’t look like first year teachers” at all.

CCU 514: What are the strengths of today’s incoming teachers?

Rebecca: We look for students who are caring. We find that students seeking a degree in education at CCU have a deep sense of service and care. I think that is one of the reasons our graduates stay longer in the profession than the state average. When a teacher understands teaching as a ministry to serve and care, he or she knows that this is God’s work.

CCU 514: How do teachers (at any grade level) impact the next generation?

Rebecca:Consider this. A child spends roughly eight hours a day in a classroom. And these are not just any eight hours. These are eight hours of the day when the child is most alert and active. When the child returns home, the parents have to make sure dinner is served, homework is done, baths taken, and so forth. Teachers have an enormous influence on the lives of these young people. We want that influence to be positive. We want children and their families to see Christ in us. If you ask someone to tell you about a favorite teacher or a teacher who changed the lives of students, they will tell you about the teacher who cared; or the teacher who displayed an interest in the lives of students. Rarely will you find someone who says “My favorite teacher was Mrs. Smith because she’s the one who taught me how to diagram sentences.”

CCU 514: What role does the Education Department play in supporting CCU’s commitment to develop Christian leaders?

Rebecca: All teacher education students also major in Biblical Studies. More importantly, all students learn how to be effective Christian leaders in the classroom. This plays out in the books we read to children, the choices we make in matters of discipline and so forth. Our course work and experiences are designed to engage our students as leaders in the classroom. The sequence of classes is designed in such a way our students have specific experiences that follow allowing them to apply what they are learning in the classroom. Every student preparing to be a teacher participates in Christian Service hours in educational settings. Every student has a cross cultural field experience.

CCU 514: How do our graduates compare with teachers coming out of other education programs in the state?

Rebecca: There are 51 colleges preparing teachers in the State of Ohio. In order to teach, students must pass two qualifying exams. Nine institutions in the State of Ohio are able to report 100% passage rate on these two exams. CCU is one of them. Our students are working in their field. They are moving into leadership roles in their workplaces. They are continuing their education by getting master’s degrees and so forth. Our grads are serving in foreign mission fields and in their local churches. They are using the talents and gifts God has given them and the educational tools they have acquired at CCU to serve children of all ages and to help them grow in their understanding of their relationship with God.

CCU 514: What does the CCU Education Department offer?

Rebecca: The teacher education department provides the coursework and experiences students need to prepare for a vocation in teaching. On campus, we offer a program that prepares students to become licensed early childhood teachers in the State of Ohio. This qualifies our graduates to teach preschool to grade three. Of course, an Ohio license also prepares students to teach in other states. Students who want to teach fourth and fifth grade can add that credential to their license here at CCU. We are also able to help students who want to come to a Bible college but teach in the older grades. We have partner programs with other colleges so that our students can graduate with the Biblical Studies degree from CCU, completing some of the requirements to teach high school English, for example, here at CCU and the rest at the partner institute.

CCU 514: Why do most people choose to teach?

Rebecca: Many of our students come into the teaching profession because they have found school to be a rewarding experience. Often I hear stories of how a particular teacher in the past had great influence or turned a student’s life around. Students come to us wanting to learn how to be that person. They want to make a difference.

CCU 514: What has changed in the teaching profession?

Rebecca:Nothing. And everything. Although we have seen a growth in the home schooling movement over the last ten years, most school aged children receive their education in public or private schools. Demographics in every area of our country are changing. Our classrooms in schools across the country serve children of all cultures, languages, and economic status. There is a great need for highly qualified, competent, and caring teachers. The 21st century teacher has to be a person who appreciates all children and their cultures; a person equipped to meet their diverse needs, and a person willing to reflect and make changes to serve all children as needed. Today’s teacher must be prepared to embrace tomorrow’s technology.

CCU 514: Where do CCU’s teachers want to serve?

Rebecca: Although we have a few students interested in teaching in private settings or serving on the foreign mission field, most of our CCU educators see the mission field available to them in the public school system.

CCU 514: How can the church support teachers?

Rebecca: Pray for our teachers and those preparing to teach. Get involved in the local schools. Encourage young people in your churches to pursue teaching as a valuable field of service.

CCU 514: How can teachers impact students?

Rebecca: Teachers can help a young person value life, seek truth, appreciate honesty, and develop a good work ethic. Teachers greatly influence a child’s social skills. All of these characteristics impact a person and the way that person thinks for life.