An Educator with Vision
“Christian educators should focus on meeting the needs of every student because Jesus has met our deepest need, in freeing us from sin,” says Leah Altimus. A senior education major, Leah recently published an article in Teachers of Vision; a magazine sponsored by Christian Educators Association International. The article, "Advocacy: Jesus, our Model for Stewardship of Love and Service," was a product of her class reflection on what it means to be an advocate.
“Simply put, advocates meet the needs of others. When connecting this to biblical truths, the automatic connection that my mind makes is Jesus’ ministry on earth as he met the spiritual, physical and social justice needs of multitudes of people,” says Leah.
“Living life as a conscious advocate requires sacrifice, commitment, knowledge, personal investment and, most important of all, compassion.”
She believes that Christian educators must study Jesus in order to more effectively help their students. “Living life as a conscious advocate requires sacrifice, commitment, knowledge, personal investment and, most important of all, compassion,” Leah writes. “In following God’s commands, we must ‘Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Defend the rights of the poor and needy’” (Proverbs 31: 8-9, NIV).
Defining advocacy in relation to faith and teaching is a requirement for all Geneva education majors. “Teachers sometimes do not realize that they are in a unique place due to God's call—to be able to speak up for their students,” says education professor Dr. Yvonne Trotter. “So I have students write papers on the importance of advocacy in teaching.”
Leah explains that she did not write the article with an intention of publishing it. “I turned the paper in to my professor, Dr. Trotter, for the sole purpose of receiving a final grade in her course at the end of this recent fall semester,” she says.
After reading the paper, however, Dr. Trotter encouraged Leah to publish it: “It was very concise yet passionate, focused on the student/teacher relationship, and integrated Scripture throughout the essay effectively. I just felt compelled to ask her if I could submit the essay.”
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to be heard and to share the outlooks I hold on my Christian beliefs and their impact on my future career with others,” concludes Leah. “I hope that my article will renew the reader’s sense of purpose and vision for teaching with excellence. More importantly, I wish for it to spark a desire in the readers to be molded into the image of Jesus in all aspects of life.”
-Jessica Driscoll ’14