Pierre and Claudette take Christ into the classroom

By Megan Patterson, Transformational Teaching Ministry | West Africa

DOUBLE ACT: Pierre and Claudette are powerful witnesses to Christ

Pierre and Claudette* have both been through the Transformational Teaching workshops I run and are now putting the lessons they have learned into practice in their respective school classrooms.

Claudette, who has a class of 60 in a primary school with a Muslim headmaster, said: “In the government school I am now in, my colleagues call me ‘Madame Gentil’ (Mrs Kind). It’s because of what we learnt at the Transformational Teaching workshops about every child being made in the image of God. Consequently, it’s the way I always try to treat the children and my colleagues.

“I have one child this year who has quite severe learning difficulties. I cherish him and already he is learning to fold his arms, to listen quietly and to put his hand up.”

Pierre, who has taught at the same Christian school for 18 years, said: “As I see it, Christian education is fundamentally about the transformed heart of the teacher. It’s not about dropping God’s name into our lessons or turning our classroom into a Sunday School.”

It was a treat to watch Claudette in action in the classroom. She had been entrusted with the first class, with children ranging in age from about four to eight. Between them they speak eight different languages, while Claudette teaches them in a ninth, French!

I saw her energetic troop eagerly follow their calm, warm teacher outside to have a lesson under the tree. “It’s cooler outside and I know they will concentrate better,” Claudette explained.

I couldn’t help but notice that no other teacher had this idea. I sat a while in her headmaster’s office. After thanking him for letting me visit, he was quick to praise Claudette.

“She is an excellent teacher,” he said. “That’s why I’ve given her the first class. It’s very important that the first and last class have the best teachers. I take the last class. Claudette has them when they begin school.”

Pierre has no doubt that their faith has an impact, both on the way they teach and on the way others see them. He said: “We have more freedom here but, wherever we are, what matters is how we behave, everyone notices. Most of the children are from Muslim homes. All the parents know we follow Jesus. One day these children will confess Jesus too!”

Class act: Claudette poses proudly with her pupils in West Africa.

Pierre and Claudette have both passed their professional exams, thanks to some help from the Transformational Teaching workshops but also a huge amount of work on their part. Both face huge and constant challenges – Pierre earns a third of what Claudette earns, because he is in a church school; Claudette faces the daily challenge of standing firm for her faith in a government-run school. “We must always pray a lot,” she says.

Both Pierre and Claudette now train other teachers in the Transformational Teaching workshops, helping their colleagues understand what it means to share a biblical worldview in the classroom. For more information about Transformational Teaching or the workshops please email me – megan.patterson@sim.org – for details.

*Names changed

Please pray

• For Pierre and Claudette as they face the daily challenges of displaying Jesus in their teaching.
• For the Transformational Teaching workshops to have a continuing impact for Christ across the globe.
• For teachers to find creative ways of showing their faith in countries where Christianity is not the main faith.

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