A few weeks back, students had a short week so that teachers had the chance to learn together. Intentional opportunities for professional development allow for collaborative work, thoughtful reflection, and a renewed focus on our call as Christian educators to prepare students as effective servants of Christ.
A highlight of our time together centered on Grand Rapids Christian School’s Portrait of a Graduate. Seven attributes make up the Portrait of a Graduate — they describe what distinguishes our students when they finish their PreK-12 education. The very same attributes also make up our Portrait of a Professional Educator. Teachers and students alike are working hard at becoming Disciples of Christ, Thoughtful Neighbors, Culturally Competent, Communicators & Collaborators, Justice Seekers, Creative Solution Finders, and Lifelong Explorers.
During our professional development, we heard from a variety of community members about a specific attribute, and how we foster it in our students and ourselves. Here at Rockford Christian, I am especially excited about our work as Thoughtful Neighbors. What shapes this work? How does it look in our classrooms and community? Who is our neighbor? When Jesus was asked the same question in Luke Chapter 10, he changes “neighbor” from a noun to a verb. A neighbor is not defined by a location, so much as it is framed by a way of being. How do we act neighborly? Our work as teachers and students must continually come back to this relational focus. Being a neighbor is about how we treat those around us. How do our choices impact others? God has wired us for relationship with Himself, one another, and His Creation.
Are you looking for ways to be a neighbor? Our theme at Rockford Christian, “Love in Action”, is a great place to start. Romans 12: 9-21 offers many tangible ways you might thoughtfully consider.