Beyond Islands

Posted on Jun 16, 2019 by Jessica Neuman - Lutheran Spirit - Quality Education

Technically the IDCI - Social Studies Curriculum Team finished three days ago. However, I can’t stop thinking about the great experience I had being a part of this team and pilot program. I had the opportunity to work on something bigger than my own classroom. Together we worked to create something that could be used not just by ourselves but by other teachers and classrooms. This Social Studies Curriculum we created will be made available to pilot schools this Fall. These schools will use the curriculum and critique and leave notes for revision before this curriculum is made available district wide in the Fall of 2020.

Here was something I poured passion into. I am passionate about teaching and helping students grow of course, but I am especially passionate about Lutheran Education. Here was the opportunity to work on something that was not only for the efforts of teaching students Social Studies and meeting standards, but something that was especially for us in our Lutheran Schools. A curriculum that was challenging and goal-setting but also Lutheran. Distinctly Lutheran with faith tie-ins to each unit. In Lutheran Schools we know Jesus isn’t a subject that gets taught in a 40 minute block. Jesus is throughout our day and here was the chance to help fuse Jesus into Social Studies.

There are times in teaching in Lutheran Schools where you may feel like an island. You may be the only teacher in your building teaching your particular subject or your particular grade level. You don’t always have the opportunity to talk to others about what they’re doing in their classrooms. When you see teachers at conferences or even at round tables you exchange a few ideas but you still go back the following day to your island. In our Social Studies efforts, we created something that can help your island feel a bit closer to the mainland. Here is a chance to see what each other is doing and use it to help all of our students grow and learn- not only in subject matter but also in The Word and their faith.

Initially when I read about the team I was skeptical to sign up. I was sure there were people more knowledgeable and more qualified than I to serve on this team. At the urging of my husband I went ahead and applied and was placed on the 5th grade team. I had the opportunity to get to know another teacher from another school in another part of the Indiana District. I enjoyed comparing notes on teaching 5th grade as well as comparing notes on ministry opportunities and future plans and goals.

In a room of Lutherans it’s not uncommon to see someone you recognize and certainly not uncommon to know some of the same people. Through this opportunity I grew in my own community and had the chance to get to know people not only from other schools in Fort Wayne, but also from other parts of the Indiana District. I had the opportunity to learn how other Lutheran schools operated and heard about the challenges and successes that other schools have. This unique opportunity to work together and get to know others is not something I will soon forget.