The glib answer: very carefully!
We live in a politically correct world, more and more so every day. And it is my opinion that our current society/media is increasingly hostile to Christianity. My situation is one where there is some tolerance, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t constantly cautious and vigilant so as to not offend the PC powers-that-be – I’m too old to have to start a new career. So it is on my mind that overt manifestations of my religion are not a good idea these days. Sad, but that’s how I feel and that’s just how it is these days.
So I found this post by another blogger, Paige Givens, very enlightening and very well written. Honestly, she has put a lot more thought and deliberation into the question than I have – I tend to make it up as I go. But even though she is much more reasoned and thoughtful and that she teaches kindergarteners instead of my 11th and 12th graders, I think my approach has ended up very close to hers.
The answer – show Christ through your life.
Here’s how she put it:
So, to the Christian teacher in a public school, I am in no way telling you to break the law or hinder your job! But I am reminding you (and mostly myself! :)) that it’s okay for you to bring Jesus into your classroom. We may not be able to explicitly teach the Bible and prayer to our students, but we can live the Word. We can live the way Jesus calls us to live. That’s what He’s called us to do, after all! We are just seed-planters. He is the one who saves.
So how do we plant seeds? How do we live the Word when we can’t teach about the Word?
She’s got more to say and it’s worth reading here.
What’s the other takeaway from this? That’s the right answer about everything we do, everywhere, everyday. So three weeks from tomorrow I’ll meet about 120 kids that will be in my class for part or all of the year. I probably won’t directly talk about my beliefs or my Christianity with very many (if any) of them. But I sure hope they will know and be able to tell from my life and the way I act in front of them. Trust me, there aren’t many professions where you are as exposed as you are as a high school teacher. So I’m going to read this reminder from Paige Givens many times, pray for strength and guidance, and gear up for another year – it’s starting very soon!