There are colleges and universities all over the country using instructional preparation and instructional delivery curriculums in teacher preparation programs providing faulty and incorrect information. Individuals in teachers education program are taught to think and believe that minority students and students living in homes where English is not the primary language, are incapable of learning and therefore, the goverment should not be using programs and resources for impossible task. Adults are taught not to expect academic achievement from minority students. Parents and teachers cannot solve these problems, wealthy churches must help to see that all American children receive a qualified education, and no child should be left behind. This theology of education in America is wrong and a great sin and injustice to the country.

Education in America is wrong, and a sin against teachers, students, parents and the country. The state legislators have the responsiblity of writing and supervising curriculums. If teachers are being taught they cannot teach students, then that is the goverments fault and responsibility. As a certified teacher, I asked my Church to help me add the extra variable of spirituality to help teachers give students the very best. Riverside Church in the City of New York said yes to teachers, students and community.

 The Role of Interfaith Spiritual Formation in Teacher Education

What the state wants a teacher to teach?
What God wants a teacher to teach?

God does not want a public school teacher to teach religion. God wants the teacher to teach, tolerance, morality, and the rules of human behavior and the belief in the sacred life of the self and others. What a student learn in a classroom is decided by the State. How and why a student act or behaves in a classroom is God’s business. A teacher therefore, must come into the classroom prepared to do both the states business and God’s business, and unless God’s business in taken care, the state will not see any results in the classroom. A teacher does not pray in the classroom, the teacher is the prayer in the classroom.

The state would like teachers to teach, reading, writing, arithmetic, social studies, the arts and the sciences. The state wants the teachers to teach tolerance and citizenship. The school is a place where children should be able to go and be accepted for who they are and their human potential. It should not be a place where the decision concerning who will or will not succeed, has been decided in the university classroom. Some teachers are sent into classrooms and become the instrument of the failure of the children in their care. No teacher would consciously and willingly subject his or herself to six years of difficult preparation, only to find that when they enter the classroom, they are not prepared for the assignment at hand.

Teachers struggle doing the best sometimes in the worst situations. Some regretfully leave after a year or two, giving up in total failure. It is hoped that after finishing this program, that teachers will return to their colleges and universities and demand a change in their teacher preparation courses, and specifically in the curriculum content of the vast amount of courses they have taken. Teachers should insist that teacher-training institutions teach them how to teach, rather than spend a considerable amount of time teaching them about the students they may be teaching. The life style of a student does not have determining factors on the teacher’s responsibility to teach and reach all children. If you can teach, then you can teach above, around or through any circumstances.

Marie Montessori an Italian doctor, working in Italy became upset when she saw poor children living in the streets in Italy being treated badly. The children were not permitted to go to school, and the officials had said because they were poor and homeless, they could not learn. She developed a program for the children, and challenged the government officials to come in and test the children. The children scored as well and better that students in regular school settings with privilege. Her work is the founding principles upon which the theory all children can learn regardless of socio-economic or cultural circumstances. Her methods are use today all over the world. Her schools are usually for the rich, however, her methodology and beliefs relate to all classes.

Recently I visited the school from which I graduated. Many changes have taken place in Teachers College, Columbia University. First I noticed the large Asian population studying to be teachers. Second I noticed that the head of the department in which I did my graduate work is also Asian. This is a positive significant change. It will be interesting to see the approach these students take in the field of Urban Education. The American needs these new Americans to step forth and make a contribution to their country. As this new crop of American teachers enter into the classrooms, we wait in happy anticipation for their contributions to the world of cognitive development. In the meantime, we must help those teachers who are trapped in a system, which has programmed them for failure.

Diane Ravitich gives an example of what college professors think about the children in our education system. She writes:

“The main goal of the law — that all children in the United States will be proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014 — is simply unattainable. The primary strategy — to test all children in those subjects in grades three through eight every year — has unleashed an unhealthy obsession with standardized testing that has reduced the time available for teaching other important subjects. Furthermore,
the law completely fractures the traditional limits on federal interference in the operation of local schools.”
Professor Ravitch argues that it is impossible to educate inner city children because of the challenges of race, language and economic factors. She says the congress is wrong in addressing the issue of failing schools. She of course does not offer any suggestion for the approval of the situation, she states the problem, The concern here is, Professor Ravitch is one of the individuals responsible for training future teachers, and if she believes that it is a job that is impossible to achieve, then what type of message is she giving to the new teachers taking classes with her.
She further writes:
“ Congress should also drop the absurd goal of achieving universal proficiency by 2014. Given that no nation, no state and no school district has ever reached 100 percent math and reading proficiency for all grades, it is certain that the goal cannot be met. Perpetuating this unrealistic ideal, however, guarantees that increasing numbers of schools will “fail” as the magic year 2014 gets closer.”

It would be interesting to ask some professors of medicine who are responsible for the preparation of men and women entering into the field of medicine to respond to such comments. Would medical professors or engineering professors prepare their students in such a way. Perhaps some college professors are not aware of the harm they are doing students when they present their personal political views in areas where technical skills and knowledge are needed. It would have been more responsible if professor Ravitch, had developed a successful method for teaching reading and math to school children, and she spent her time teaching her teachers how to use the method. This is an example of the hidden curriculum, and also an example of how racisms enter our system. Teachers are taught that children cannot learn and are doomed for failure before they start teaching. This is negative conditioning.

It will be difficult to eliminate the negative conditioning placed in the heads of teachers with respect to students. It however, can and must be done. The national security and future of our country depends on an educated citizenry. Negative beliefs are usually help through spiritual assistance. If the schools continue to program teachers with negative views, then the churches must help to transform the belief systems of the teachers in order that they may know themselves to be effective in the classroom. Teaching is a spiritual act, and the place to go for spiritual transformation is the church.

The church is a place where people can go and find spirituality. It is a place where teachers can go to begin spiritual formation. Church is a place where teachers can take problems and concerns to a higher power without worrying that it will show up on a progress report. Religious institutions should provide a place and a time where teachers can come and get the strength and the skills they need for effective teaching. The church, or any house of spiritual commitment, is a place where teachers can learn the magic of teaching and the satisfaction of doing God’s work. With the help of the Holy Spirit, whom ever you conceive it to be, as a teacher, you will know, and know that you know, and when you enter the classroom, the students will know your purpose, and know that you know your purpose.

The National Council of Churches has indicated that churches have the responsibility to assist the public education sector in its delivery of effective teaching. It stated that if the churches do not help the families, then the families would take their children out of the public education system and place them in private settings. This, the Council said would be harmful to poor families, which cannot afford private school. This program takes the position that the stress factors related to the public school is not an economic issue but a spiritual issue. Teaching is a calling, and teachers must receive the tools to answer that call. Children and families must also be involved in the process. Education is the major transformation source in this country. If the teacher is to be the instrument of that transformation, it is necessary to go through a spiritual transforming process to prepare for the assignment.

Therefore, the Interfaith Spiritual Transformation ministry for teachers will have two parts. The first part will involve teachers, volunteering to attend morning sessions, one day per week, before going to school. There will be two thirty-minute sessions starting at seven in the morning and ending at eight. The sessions will be held Wednesday mornings. Teachers working in the area will be encouraged to attend. These Wednesday morning sessions would be open to children and their families. Parents may elect to have their children experience a mid week Blessing. This should have a positive effect on the child during the school day, and it would give a sense of spiritual peace to the parent, who may have to leave the child at school in order to go to work. An Interfaith Spiritual formation program would encourage teachers and children to have a personal relationship with God.

An important part of the program will be the opportunity for children to have time with a clergy to discuss some school concerns. This would help the child to know that they are not alone in school, and God is with them all the time. This part of the program has been tried successfully with school children, attending the Riverside Church after school program. It had a significant effect on the behaviors of the student and the academic performance of the student.

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