Building on a Solid Foundation

 Maaika Joyce '11

I never imagined myself becoming anything other than a teacher. As a child growing up on an isolated mission station, I loved reading and devoured stories about Laura Ingalls Wilder teaching on the prairies and Anne of Green Gables tackling her one-room schoolhouse full of Canadian children.


I loved playing teacher and began instructing my younger brother on all the “joys of learning” while he was still in diapers. As I grew older and realized I wanted to do a job that might be used on the mission field, I realized teaching definitely fit the bill and continued towards “being a teacher when I grow up.”


The fall of 2007 found me as a freshman at Covenant College, where I began to learn that teaching wasn’t going to be about me, but about nurturing the unique individuals created in God’s image that would fill my classroom. Suddenly teaching began to seem very important, but also a bit harder to do than I had always dreamed. And now, spring of 2011 finds me in my first student-teaching position and…I truly love it. It is harder than anything I have ever done before, but far more rewarding than I imagined.


As I began in the classroom, I realized that Covenant had prepared me not only in academics and management, but—more importantly—in the aspect that Christ must be my rock and my focus before I can do anything to serve “my kids.”


I see my students as gifted individuals who are each unique with different learning styles. It is my job (and joy) to be able to interact with these high-school students to prepare them not only for the SAT, but for life. At the moment, we are reading through the novel Night. It has revealed to me the blessing of hope I have in Christ, and it is my goal to be able to help kids see not only the literature we read, but the life lessons we glean from all influences: books, people, relationships.


This burden for public-school kids who may not have many other Christ-like influences in their lives has developed since I have been at Covenant. I would love to teach internationally and am considering any options, but I have learned in my four years on Lookout Mountain that the first priority needs to be my heart (Is it fully Christ’s?) and the hearts of my kids.


We will cover the literature, but I believe God calls all of us Covenant students, who have been richly blessed to receive this faith-integrated worldview, to shine Christ’s light in the places where others don’t see the light: whether that ends up being Burkina Faso or Ringgold, Georgia.


"The education department at Covenant College has really helped us prepare for teaching careers, and they provide us with many opportunities to work in classrooms along the way. I was able to work with a classroom as early as my freshman year. Being able to go into an elementary school classroom and utilize what we have learned in our classes has been extremely helpful for me to not only learn what I am studying, but also learn how to use it."
 - education major Mark Paczewski '16

"My favorite class so far has definitely been T.I.P.S. (Teaching In a Pluralistic Society)...It was such a hard semester enduring the readings, projects, and papers for that class, but through homework, the lectures, and the challenging discussions, I learned so much about how to be diversity-minded while teaching. Though the class is focused on educating children, the topics that were raised really encouraged me to broaden my worldview and place aside hidden biases within myself. "
 - interdisciplinary studies major Daniel Sluis '16
Jonathan describes Covenant's master of education program and what sets it apart.