Our Professional Journey of Growth
by Darryl deBoer, Director of Learning
“I am full of gratitude to work at a school where we can open our doors widely to our colleagues in Christian education.””
Last week (Nov 13 & 14), Surrey Christian School became a destination for 50 educational leaders from 28 Christian schools that span 5 Canadian provinces and 8 American States.
The workshop participants joined our Surrey Christian leadership group for two days of training focused on the coaching and supporting of teachers as they design learning that invites students to play their role within God’s story. This was an exciting opportunity for Surrey Christian to host an event bringing together numerous Christian schools that “are intentionally striving to become better at keeping the promise of their school’s mission statement” (Matthew Beimers, Cloverdale Campus principal).
Beyond the learning of the workshops, the inspiring conversations, and the good company of so many purpose-filled educators, it was an opportunity for Surrey Christian to continue to grow in a few distinct ways.
First, 25 of our SCS teachers volunteered to spent an hour of their time after school meeting with two of the attending coaches. These teachers came prepared to receive feedback on their current practices. I am proud to be part of a school where many of our teachers embrace vulnerability and actively seek opportunities for feedback on their teaching practice.
Second, our Surrey Christian teachers opened up their classrooms for 90 minutes as the conference participants toured freely through our school, engaging teachers and students on the learning experiences that they encountered. Again, I am deeply appreciative of the hospitality of our staff in which they readily open their classrooms and share freely of the learning that they are designing in their classrooms. For most of the participants attending the workshop, the above conversations and classroom visits was a highlight of the two days of learning. As one participant shared, “I can’t wait to come back to my school with the photos and stories that I captured from the classrooms I visited. Surrey Christian teachers are amazing!” As learning professionals, these moments of sharing our work provides both moments of reflection and affirmation – fuel for our professional journey of growth!
Finally, the two day conference provided the opportunity for our grade 8 Foods and Design course to engage in “real work that meets a real need for real people.” Ms. Friesen and her grade 8 students put their cooking/baking skills (and our new foods lab at the Secondary Campus!) to the test as they thoughtfully selected and prepared the food to be served during our morning breaks. It was a wonderful embodiment of the type of learning experiences that we are designing for our students – empowering them to engage in learning that matters, and creating work that is important to people beyond meeting the need for a grade in the classroom. Both Ms. Friesen and her students were masterful as they lived into their storyline of “nourish to flourish.”
I am full of gratitude to work at a school where we can open our doors widely to our colleagues in Christian education and know that, while we are not there yet, Surrey Christian is a professional learning community growing in a direction that is inspiring to other Christian schools. A wonderful journey for our staff as we also engage in “real work that meets a real need for real people.”