How teaching French has deepened my faith in God
By: Carole Mithika (HS French Teacher)
One of the most humbling experiences, in my opinion, is learning a Foreign language. The rules don’t always make sense and trying to learn the language in a country where it’s not widely spoken makes it all the more difficult. That was my experience as a student here in Kenya and that’s the experience of my students now as they walk into my classroom. I totally understand their frustration when grammar and conjugations don’t make sense. I was there!
As a teacher, however, one of the lessons I have learned is to be totally dependent on God. Yes, I’ve gone to school and yes, I’ve studied. However, just as we read all over the Bible, God does not use us because we are the “best” in our field, but rather because we are willing and available to be used by Him and to bring Him glory. Just think about David, the little shepherd boy taking on Goliath, or the story of Gideon who did not feel adequate to do what the Lord was requiring of Him. I have learned that many times, God asks us to do that which we cannot do on our own so as to remain connected to Him. That has been my experience studying French and now teaching it.
One of my favorite classroom experiences is the cohesion that I see in my students. When we play review games and a student gets an answer correct, the whole class breaks into cheers and applause; this is a truly memorable moment for me as a teacher. I realize that this can only come from their understanding that we are all in the learning process and so they choose to build each other up. It warms my heart every time it happens. I love to see God at work in them.
At Rosslyn, our students come from diverse backgrounds and therefore interpret different scenarios in French differently based on their country of origin, their mother-tongue and cultural backgrounds. They often have to sift through at least two languages to be able to construct a sentence in French. For some, the challenge can bring excitement while to others, it can be draining and frustrating. As a teacher, trying to reach and teach each one in the way they learn best is a constant reminder to pray for each of them individually.
Through my years of teaching, I have learned that when we put God first and remain connected to Him, He will show up in the most unexpected and wonderful ways. Teaching teenagers is definitely my passion and helping them realize their God-given potential and grow in their dependence on God is without a doubt my reason for being – “ma raison d’être”.
I read a statement once, in the book “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God” Written by Henry Blackaby and Claude King. It has a simple but challenging message: “Find out where God is at work and join Him there.” That statement has stayed with me over the years, and as I come to work/serve at Rosslyn every morning, I can honestly say that God is at work here and it has been my joy and privilege to join Him in that work. May He continue to equip us and sharpen us as we faithfully point our students to Christ.