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Mrs. Jennifer Kelly

 I want my students to develop critical thinking skills, to become problem solvers, and to love learning. As I look at what I want my students to learn with each new unit, I develop projects that require them to think and problem solve. We learn by doing, so I take the concept that I am teaching and create a project for them to work through. Sometimes these are short projects that take a part of a class period and others take weeks to complete. Often at the beginning of a new project the students look at me like this is an impossible task, but as they work through designing the experiment, building the model, or preparing to teach a Bible lesson, they become more confident that they possess the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. When I first started teaching this way I had to get past the desire to have the classroom noise free or completely orderly. I had to get away from the idea that the teacher needs to be the one talking throughout a class period and learn to be available to discuss and answer questions as the students do most of the talking in the class.

I want to create an atmosphere at Living Oaks Academy for my students to get excited about learning and not want to leave when the bell rings.  This is why at each new school year and really each new day, I pray about what God would have me to do in the classes He has placed me in. I believe He has me here for more than to teach a lesson in a particular subject.  In the end, it is more important to me that I have built relationships with the students so that I can have a spiritual influence in their lives than it is for them to memorize every piece of information they are given. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to touch a student’s life for eternity.

Mrs. Lorrie Ferguson

“…take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.”  (2 Peter 3:17-18)

I cannot say that I began my teaching career with eternity in mind.   However, during the five years I labored to educate my own children at home, I undoubtedly reached the conclusion that eternity with Jesus is the greatest offering I have to give, the greatest goal I have to reach,  and the purpose for which we are created.  For some, I know that seems to be an extremely obvious conclusion, but I have learned that eternity has not always been a driving force in my own daily decisions.  As I examine my own life, lead my own children, and teach my students, I have a deep desire to see the truth and to teach others to see the truth.  I desperately yearn for myself and those around me to be willing to honestly reflect on the choices we make, to examine the motivations and beliefs behind our choices,  and to understand that our choices have far-reaching consequences-even into eternity.

 I have three basic expectations of students:  they should be respectful, responsible, and productive.  I also let my students know that they can expect the same from me.  My goal is to train students in responsibility and taking ownership for their actions while demonstrating love, grace, and respect.  At the end of the day, I pray my students know that I love them.  More importantly, I pray that they know God loves them and has a plan for their lives which they can experience through surrender to Him, and that I am willing to walk with them as we all learn to walk with Jesus.

One of the aspects of education that I love the most is the privilege of training students to become reflective.  As we read amazing literature from all parts of the world or learn about the motivations of people who have changed history, I enjoy the privilege of getting a glimpse into the hearts and minds of young people.  With that privilege comes great responsibility.  When we are analyzing the cultures that created the literature and processing our own thoughts and motivations through writing, I encourage them to not be “carried away…and lose stability” but to “grow in grace and knowledge.”    I challenge them to think deeply, to examine their beliefs and motivations, and to make choices that will have Godly impact in their sphere of influence. These discussions and activities are where I am humbled that students choose to be honest and authentic with their hearts and thoughts.

I love that I get to spend my days with amazing young people! They challenge me to go before the Lord and remember eternity everyday.   I am challenged to examine my own heart and my own responses.  They allow me into their lives- what a privilege!  I pray that at Living Oaks Academy, students will experience the love and presence of Jesus, will learn to examine their own hearts through God's Word, will choose wisely, and will gain stability as they “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" to impact their world with His love.

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