“It’s not about rugby. It’s about turning out championship boys. It’s much easier to turn out a championship team than to turn out championship boys. We’re trying to teach young men to be forever strong on the field, so that they will be forever strong off the field.” – Coach Larry Gelwix, Forever Strong
As a part of my education, I am required to observe a classroom in a local high school. While doing so, a teacher remarked to me that my presence was proof that I at least still had a little faith in education. Smiling, I nodded, and pondered his words. Do I have faith in education? Is this why I am spending $14,000 a year to become a teacher? Certainly, there are points on which I would agree with this teacher’s comment. I have been privileged to observe an excellent teacher who gives his students an education which will serve them well far beyond high school, if they choose to accept the responsibilities he lays upon them. Clearly, such teachers stand out within the system of education as the ideal, yet the very idea of a “system of education” creates a certain feeling of hesitancy.
Education, by its very nature, requires that there be goals and objectives. Entering the realm of education via the path of education, I have been introduced to and immersed in the language and doctrine of the No Child Left Behind Act. Notorious for its proponents and opponents, this act has clarified the “system” in education. I am by no means an advocate of government control, however, I do not altogether disagree with the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act. How those goals are achieved is a different story, but the objectives themselves are worthy of consideration.
Putting my faith in education requires some careful definition. Wholeheartedly agreeing to faith in the system of education would be a worthless and hypocritical statement. But I do have faith in education.
What do I mean by that? Take the quote taken from the movie, “Forever Strong,” as an example. There are two kinds of coaching exemplified here. One one hand, you can coach a team to win games. But on the other hand, you can coach a team to create lifelong winners in character. I believe that there are also two kinds of education. Education might often be seen as the process by which students learn multiplication tables, write essays, and pass the state examinations, but the kind of education I believe in is the form of education in which students learn about responsibility, respect, honor, truth, and character. Content area teaching is important. Students should learn to analyze literature, write properly, and communicate clearly. However, passing every standardized test and achieving a perfect GPA does not mean that a student has been educated. Education requires teaching a strength of character to be internalized by students, enabling them to be “forever strong,” in and out of school.
1 Samuel 16:7
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.'”