Member Spotlight: Jessica Geleynse Bandstra – Christian Education in a Community

Member Spotlight: Jessica Geleynse Bandstra – Christian Education in a Community

Posted by Edifide Office, Category: Member Spotlight,
Jessica Geleynse BandstraEducation beyond the classroom

It really wasn’t until I had been teaching for a few years that I came to appreciate more fully the value of Christian education. That may sound rather strange coming from someone who had been immersed in Christian education (Clinton & District Christian School, London District Christian Secondary School, and Dordt College) and the daughter of a Christian school teacher. I began my teaching career in Bowmanville, one of five new first year teachers, which undoubtedly created interesting times for our principal, George Petrusma. What followed were 9 years of teaching mostly grade 5 classes, but with a variety of short term assignments in the primary and intermediate divisions.

As Diane Stronks wrote in March’s semperfidelis –“…to (lead and) teach in a Christian school is an honour and an awesome responsibility.” Along my journey, I have had the privilege of working with many experienced teachers and leaders who took me under their wing during my first years of teaching. I was blessed with a supportive principal who encouraged and affirmed me as I worked through the challenges and joys that come with being a new teacher and who convinced me to take the Educators Leadership Development Institute (ELDI) course in August 2005. It was that experience at ELDI that sparked the interest in exploring Christian education beyond the classroom.

I have truly enjoyed my experience on the Edifide Board and the Professional Development committee. It has allowed me to take opportunities outside of my classroom to give back and really wrestle with the importance of Christian education and the unique challenges that come alongside this task and calling. I have had opportunity to interact with colleagues across the province who share their love of teaching and education by exploring ways of furthering those joys and challenges that come with working together as a community of learners.

Christian education is a community – a community of learners where we are solidly grounded in Biblical truth, a place where lifelong friendships are formed, a community of support and encouragement for colleagues, and a community in which we can grow professionally and personally. I’m not sure where my journey in education will take me, but I do know God has used the last 9 years to help shape who I am through the people I’ve worked with and through the experiences I’ve had.