Teacher Craig Owings, Immanuel Lutheran School, Mankato, Minnesota
Shaped to Serve was the theme of the 2011 CLC Teachers’ Conference, hosted by Faith Lutheran Church and School of Markesan, Wisconsin, from October 19-21 of this year.
The conference started with a devotion by Conference Chaplain Paul Tiefel III. The text was Isaiah 44:24, “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, And He who formed you from the womb: ‘I am the Lord, Who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself. . . .’” Based on this text, Chaplain Tiefel pointed out that the Lord has been shaping us for His service since before we were born. Although we may sometimes question whether we have the abilities, the patience, and the wisdom to fulfill the responsibilities of our call, the Lord reminds us, as He did the Israelites in the Babylonian captivity, that the source of our strength is not in ourselves, but rather in Him. He formed us in the womb (“shaped us to serve”), and it is He who made and formed all things who also has the power to shape us to do His will.
Following the opening devotion and communion service, Pastor Michael Eichstadt presented a paper on the use of Christian Schools as mission tools. The rest of the first morning’s session saw the presentation of “Title Five” topics on Supplemental Science Units (Karla Olmanson and Erin Libby), Teaching Manners (Mary Ryan and Susan Hulke), Teaching Nutrition (Barb Gurgel and Eileen Tiefel), Music Theory (Dan Barthels), and Educational Board Games (Candy Ohlmann). The last paper of the morning was a Curriculum Review on reading curricula presented by Marie Muehlenhaupt. Having narrowed the choice for a new reading curriculum for Faith Lutheran School to the SRA Imagine It! and
the A Beka reading curricula,
Marie presented her evaluation
of those two series.
The first paper of the afternoon was School Bullying by Seth Schaller. The question of what parents, schools, and students can do to prevent bullying was addressed. Following that, Mike Schierenbeck presented a paper titled Under Our Spiritual Care, which discussed the issue of spiritual care for non-member students in our schools. The paper concluded with six recommendations for policies and practices in this situation.
The final paper of the day was Ross Roehl’s presentation of Classroom Management, in which he outlined practices that lead to efficient and effective use of classroom time. Especially useful was the distinction between discipline and management in the classroom environment. The rest of day one consisted of an idea exchange, choir practice, supper, the evening worship service, and a pie and ice cream social.
The opening devotion was based on Philippians 2:5-8. Continuing with the theme of Shaped to Serve, Chaplain Tiefel presented God’s plan to take our misshapen lives and reshape them after the example of Christ, whose perfect life of service and vicarious death have “reshaped” us in God’s eyes so that we now can be suitable servants in the ministries into which He has called us.
Sandie Quade then presented Top 10 Playground Emergencies, in which she outlined procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of health issues that can occur on the playground. Following that, Pastor Todd Ohlmann explained the rollout of the Kids 4 Kinship program, which involves CLC school students in spreading the Gospel throughout the world.
After the morning break, teacher Chad Seybt reviewed the book The Well-Trained Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer. The book presents the case for classical education today. According to the book, this approach is systematic, rigorous, language-focused, and based on the inherent learning patterns of children; it was the type of education received by the majority of the great thinkers of the past. Mr. Seybt suggested that the topic of classical education be given further consideration in future conferences.
After lunch and before our field trip, Jeff Karnitz and Sara Pfeiffer offered a presentation on and example of Inquiry-Based Science. The following field trip was to a (not quite) local vineyard and winery. After our return and supper, Amy Sippert presented Teaching Reading Comprehension Skills.
In the opening devotion for the final day of conference, Chaplain Tiefel examined how we have been reshaped for service on this earth and into eternity. He noted that “There will be a time when sin will no longer plague us, and we will be able to perfectly serve the Lord.” His text was II Corinthians 5:1.
Neil Bernthal presented How to Promote Your School in Your Congregation and in Your Community, and this paper was followed by the final presentation, Autism in the Classroom; Helping Children with Autism Succeed, by Dawn Hart.
The conference closed with a business meeting and closing devotion, after which lunch was served, and a group of tired but edified CLC teachers from around the nation returned to their homes and classrooms.