Welcome to the brand-new Teaching Network website! You may have made it here because you heard about us at UCCF’s Forum conference this year, or because word has got to you through social media, classic word-of-mouth, or pigeon.
UCCF Teaching Network is gathering Education and Teaching students in the UK to help them to work out what it means to live, work, study and teach for Jesus. We know that this world needs to hear about Jesus; we want to help you do that through your studies and practice and with friends and colleagues by the way you live and what you say.
The teaching world has knack of piling on the pressure along with the stacks of books, as well challenging us at the core of what we think it means to be human. Right now, there is a need for Christian professionals who know and trust their God to walk into this sector well, knowing whose they are and how that means they will determine to live.
What will we do?
We’ll be collating and producing resources for you on this website to help you think and live through your years as you train to be and begin work as a teacher, flourishing and growing as you go.
We’re hoping to find ways to gather other teachers who live and work near to you to start the conversation on the ground. Before we get there, if you know of anyone who might be interested but who hasn’t heard of this, why not go ahead and tell them? Send them a link to the site or find us on social media and share from there.
For now though, where do we start? You might be launching yourself into a PGCE, beginning your first year in teaching work or getting back to uni for another year of your course, hoping that this year there’ll be more to do in-person. As we begin here are three things to remember:
Where do we start?
He is the light of the world
In John 1, we are told that the light, Jesus, shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. Later on, Jesus says ‘I am the light of the world’. In fact, you can track this theme of light all the way through the book. Why is this good? Well, if Jesus is the light, we don’t have to busy ourselves trying to be.
Many people go into teaching to make a positive change to the lives of young people. This is good, very good! But we don’t need to rely upon ourselves to be the good, to create the wheel or change hearts as we launch off into this year.
We are carriers of this wonderful life as we live in Christ and His Spirit in us. Let him be the light in your life. He will show you the way and he cannot be overcome.
He is with us
At the end of Matthew’s gospel Jesus says 13 brilliant words:
‘And behold, I am with you to the very end of the age’.
This may be the end of Matthew but Jesus is talking about the start of a whole new season. The disciples were about to launch into life without the physical presence of Jesus stood next to them. He’d no longer be telling them stuff with a mouth they could see.
But Jesus doesn’t just say ‘see you later’ or ‘let me know how you get on’ or ‘have a good one’. Instead, he says that he’s not going anywhere. He promises, even in this next season, to always be with them. And not just to get them started but to the very end. Right to the end of the credits.
On my first day of my teaching job, my housemate, also a teacher said, ‘see you later, let me know how it goes’. That’s all they could say, they had a different job to go to and they wouldn’t fit in my lunchbox.
Jesus promises us so much more. He is with you wherever you go and whatever you step into this season. He will never leave and he has enough for you to get through every moment with him.
"But we know the One who can stop a storm"
The disciples had done a fair bit of work with Jesus and they set off, again, across the lake. Storms whips up pretty quickly in that area and this one was bad – the boat was filling with water! The disciples woke Jesus up, assuming he didn’t care. But he did. With a word, ‘Peace!’ and a command ‘Be still!’, the storm stopped, ‘and there was great calm’.
We’ve already seen that Jesus is with us, he’s already in the boat. But here’s one more thing to remember. This God isn’t just a powerless companion or a distant power. He is both with us and more than able to help.
The education waters may be calm for you right now. The waves may well get choppy at times and toss you about a bit. But we know the One who can stop a storm. The One who commands peace and who listens to our prayers for help.
We’re beginning this fresh year with our bouquets of sharpened pencils, new shoes and bags of hopes, dreams and fears. Let’s pray to the One who knows, who illuminates, who is with us and who is ready to help. Let’s go together, but let’s go with Him.