Hiya! My name is Christy, married to Braden, and my current vocation is as a 6th grade science teacher in CPS. I grew up in the Seattle area, and even though I’ve been in the Midwest for about 8 years now, I still consider myself a transplant!

My primary vocation right now is teaching. After three years working at The Field Museum, I left my job there least year to join a program called Chicago Teaching Fellows. CTF takes unsuspecting optimists, and after about 8 weeks of intensive training, places you in an under-served CPS school for four years. I’m almost done with year one, and am looking forward to next year, when I’ll actually know what I’m doing some of the time!

I’ve always been interested in education (when I was in fourth grade, I wanted to quit school and be a third grade teacher), but for a long time, pictured myself in a more less-formal education setting. Since my main avocations include sustainable agriculture and international development, I always assumed my career would tend towards environmental education overseas. God had other plans, though, and I’m now reconciling being a classroom teacher with my dreams of helping farmers reach sustainability.

As a classroom teacher, I find myself in the unique position to influence adolescents, and hopefully, encourage them to move beyond their neighborhoods. My school is 85% Hispanic, and with that comes a lot of strong cultural influences. There are a lot of really great things that my students bring to the classroom; a sense of family responsibility, a value of education, and deep connection to nationality. However, for my girls especially, the culture of machismo is very influential. I have a bunch of 12 year old girls who feel that the only way they are valued is if they have a ‘man’ connected to them. One of the ways I am trying to love them, and show them God’s freeing love, is by encouraging them to be independent thinkers, and strong women who make good decisions. I also try to teach values of respect and humility to my boys who have been taught that being male gives them the right to treat the girls badly.

I’ve learned a lot in the past year. The main thing is probably that I really don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. I’ve spent a lot of this year flying by the seat of my pants, and hoping for the best. I’ve also learned that God is faithful in times of exhaustion and frustration. I’ve learned that when I stop seeing the sometimes-horrible behavior of my students, and focus on them as trophies of creation, then my ability to love and teach them skyrockets. I’ve learned that even though I teach at a public school, and cannot share my faith openly with my students, God is still working in the lives of my students, and can use me to show them true love and acceptance.

In the end, I love my job, and I love my students. I hope that by my being there, I can show them at least a smidgen of the love God has for them as well.

~ Christy