Thursday 19th October 2023

A fisherman a tax collector and a revolutionary walk into a pub... Learning from Jesus' disciples in an election year and a high school classroom.

High School classrooms can be a funny place. Students spend many of their waking hours stuck in close proximity to a diverse and varied collection of young people. Often with wildly different hobbies, strengths, weaknesses and personalities. Unsurprisingly, conflict sometimes occurs. 

One of my favourite parts of the Gospel story is the bringing together of the twelve disciples. Seemingly the wise option would be to select twelve students likely to work together calmly and efficiently. Instead, Jesus opts to assemble a volatile melting pot of different characters. Fishermen (two brothers nicknamed 'sons of thunder'), a tax collector (despised as corrupt traitors at the time), Simon the Zealot (a revolutionary political label) and a thief (Judas Iscariot). Yet despite an at times rocky and drama filled journey, just three years later they are a group tightly bound together - drawn into unity through Christ. Having learned to value each other despite and even for their differences. 

One of my goals in our Christian studies classes is to help students become better at both disagreeing with and valuing one another simultaneously. This is articulated clearly in our school values. 

"Aweawe - To Influence
I seek fairness, justice and respect for individuals, groups and communities. I am brave and articulate in defending my beliefs"   

Reflecting on how I can model and teach this in class left me deeply challenged around ensuring I approached our election this year with the same attitude. 

To really function as a united team, the disciples had a hard journey. It is not an easy thing to disagree with someone and leave them feeling valued, or even to allow others to safely disagree with us. My prayer is that this is something we as a wider McGlashan community strive for together. 

Mike Brown