by Kara Farewell, TCA Humanities Instructor
As I finish my first year of teaching at TCA, our quarter three hymn, “God Moves in Mysterious Ways,” is a fitting description. I reflect on my life, and I can see the ways God led me to TCA. I knew as a young girl that I wanted to be a teacher, and my love for reading helped me realize that I wanted to teach English. I grew up in small town in Nebraska, attending a local public school. While I had a great experience, I felt there had to be something different. I had no idea what that looked like, but I believe God was already planting seeds for what He had in store for my future teaching career.
As I learned about different styles of education during college, I would daydream about starting some sort of “experimental school.” There had to be a way to combine quality curriculum and solid teaching strategies with the overall goal of teaching the whole child. The desire for something different continued to grow, and when a recruiter for International Schools of China came to one of my classes, I was curious. I’m not naturally adventurous, but God does move in mysterious ways: I did my student teaching in Wuhan, China and accepted a job there after graduation.
Wuhan Yangtze International School (WYIS) was technically a Christian school, though due to government restrictions, we were not allowed to say so publicly. My years at WYIS showed me what it looked like to build a school community that cared about educating the whole child while still setting high expectations for academic excellence. WYIS was a family, and that experience showed me how important school culture is to helping students grow and learn.
When I returned to the US, I taught for two years at a public school before discovering TCA. I had excellent co-workers who really cared about the whole student as well, but I really struggled with how curriculum, systems, and goals were not based on Truth. Throughout those years at WYIS and the public school, I had seen glimpses of things that worked really well and ways that education was done effectively, but it still did not feel like it all fit together.
Then God led me to TCA. I have discovered that classical education is the way I had always wanted to teach. Beyond the classical model, TCA’s unique collaborative, Christian approach fulfilled my desire to teach the whole child because everything we do is grounded in biblical Truth. Here I not only get to share my love for humanities content, but I can start the day with my students focused on Christ.
We have studied a number of different historical figures throughout the year, and one of my favorite moments was when stopped to discuss how one of the men, Amos Fortune, prayed and relied on God to direct him every time he had a difficult decision in life. He even went so far as to isolate himself on a mountain to pray until he was certain he knew what God wanted his next step to be. Studying people of character and deep faith not only challenges my students, but it challenges me as well.
From the short time I have taught here, grace is what characterizes my experience. When I first started, I was nervous about collaborating with other teachers and communicating with co-teachers because that was not integral to my previous teaching experience. People are messy, communication breaks, and we are not all on the same page 100% of the time. However, when I realize we serve a sovereign God who lavishly covers us in grace, I see Him empowering us to extend that grace to others in those times of challenge.
This experience of God’s grace and provision is really what makes TCA so unique in my mind. It amazes me to see how God led me through each teaching experience to a place where I can reach my full potential as a teacher and still be at home with my daughter. Reflecting on all the ways He’s worked in my life continually affirms that surrendering to Him is best. Though it did not all make sense at the time, nor was it easy, His mysterious ways were ultimately for my good.