The 2013 CLC Teachers’ Conference was hosted by Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, Winter Haven, Florida, from Sunday through Tuesday, October 13-15. Each Christian Day School of the Church of the Lutheran Confession was represented, as well as the two Immanuel Lutheran High Schools in Mankato and Eau Claire. Three students in the education program at Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire—Naomi Bernthal, Ross Kok, and Leah Fleischer—were also in attendance.
The conference opened with a church service conducted by Pastor John Schierenbeck. It was truly uplifting to hear the Word of God proclaimed both in word and song that morning. If you can imagine a hundred people packed in a room and singing hymns at the tops of their lungs, you might have an idea of what it was like!
Teacher Sherman Carstensen opened each day with a devotion based on the conference theme, “Come and Rest.” The first devotion was based on Jesus’ invitation, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
Professor Joel Gullerud (ILC) gave a presentation entitled “Using Scripture for Classroom, Peer, and Social Issues.” The presentation stressed the importance of a strong Biblical basis for dealing with various problems teachers encounter in their classrooms. A helpful acronym was given for when issues arise: P.O.W. = Positive attitude, Others first, Work ethic. Each part of the acronym, based on a Scripture verse, can help teachers to keep the right attitude and perspective as they carry out their divine calls.
Gail Sedberry, a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Winter Haven, gave the next presentation titled “Behavioral Management.” It helped teachers identify why kids misbehave, and also how to handle those situations.
Title Five presentations were displayed Sunday evening by five teachers. Ann Sprengeler presented “Religious Bulletin Boards,” Gloria Wilke presented “Science Bulletin Boards,” Lane Fischer presented “New Religious Music,” Sharon Schierenbeck presented “Positive Ways to Reinforce Proper Printing and Pencil Grasp,” and Neil Bernthal presented “Classroom Themes.” We heartily thank these men and women for their work!
Sunday activities concluded with a worship and communion service at Immanuel Lutheran Church.
Sessions on Monday began with a paper by Teacher Chad Seybt titled “Biblical Integration in the Classroom: How the Bible Applies to All Classes.” The essayist explained both what Biblical integration in the classroom is and what it is not. He stressed not only the importance of integrating the Bible into all subjects but also explained various ways to accomplish this.
The faculty of Messiah Lutheran School, Eau Claire, Wis., researched and prepared an evaluation of the various textbooks used in our CLC Christian Day Schools. The results were presented in spread-sheet form. The information identified which textbooks our schools were using and how they rate. Teacher Seth Schaller led a discussion about the benefits of resource sharing and about conducting these surveys on a regular basis.
On Monday afternoon Mrs. Patricia Shealy of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, West Columbia, S.C., presented an overview of the Common Core Standards and what they mean. She explained the shift in education that has brought on the Common Core Standards.
She also handed out copies of Language Arts and Literacy standards for the teachers to discuss in small groups.
Monday evening break-out workshop sessions were led by teachers Jeff Karnitz and Sara Pfeiffer. A new writing curriculum being used at St. Stephen’s School, Mountain View, Calif., was presented.
The session was concluded with a devotion by teacher Carstensen.
Tuesday’s presentation by Professor Ross Roehl (ILC) was about the benefits of having CLC learning standards. The discussion built off of the previous day’s presentations. The benefits included better preparation for Immanuel High School, College and/or state university, common expectations of teachers, and accountability of teaching. Questions raised about the idea of creating CLC learning standards included, “How do we come up with the standards?” and “How can we accommodate for one-room schools versus multi-room schools?”
The final presentation of the conference was by teacher Donna Klammer, who led a hands-on workshop on Lego robots and how to use them in the classroom. A “heated” competition between various groups of teachers ensued (the winner of the competition is disputed).
At the business meeting teacher Matt Thurow was reelected Chairman, and teacher Jennifer Ohlmann as Secretary. Teacher Kirsten Gullerud was thanked for her four years as Secretary. We pray for the Lord’s guidance on the elected officers.
The teachers were humbled by and thankful for the generosity and work of our conference hosts: teachers Neil Bernthal and Megan Rehm, Pastor John Schierenbeck, the members of Immanuel Lutheran Church, and the various presenters. The theme “Come and Rest” was fitting, as the teachers were refreshed both physically and spiritually.
Next year’s conference will be hosted by Luther Memorial Church and School, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.