IN the Classroom with Mr. Baptiste

Educating. Preparing. Inspiring.

By Sarah Novlan, Director of Academics

February 15, 2023

Dear Hill Country Families,

Our language reinforces the idea that time is our most precious commodity. Think about it: Time is running out. Are we wasting our time? Are we spending our time well? Is it worth our time?

These phrases show that our time is limited and how we use it matters. As a teacher, I’m always keenly aware of the balance I need to strike between providing my students the precious time to think and reflect on new material, in addition to covering the coursework we need to complete by the end of the year. Critical thinking, synthesizing, integrating new information, and reflection all require valuable time. We need to move through the material; however, true learning cannot be rushed.

It is the teacher’s responsibility to create the space and time necessary for restful learning and stillness; additionally, they must personally model this approach to learning in and out of the classroom. Are we modeling for our students that time spent in reflective silence or in thoughtful conversation over great ideas is just as valuable as accomplishing our agendas? Furthermore, does the way we spend our time communicate to our students that we see them, hear them, and love them?

We are increasingly becoming a culture that is hurried, pressed to check boxes off our to-do list. Yes, productivity is important. However, our quest for productivity should never eclipse or overshadow the true work to which we are called: to point our students to Christ. To reflect and model Him for each other, our families, and our students. Notice Jesus’ kind admonition to Martha in Luke 10:38-42:

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

I recently sat in on a classroom where the teacher repeatedly invited students to engage in such a culture of rest and reflection. Our Middle School Bible teacher, Mr. Baptiste, models the openness and accessibility we all want to feel when we come into a space and need to be seen and heard. Not only does he listen to his students with an unhurried demeanor, he responds to them by pointing them towards Christ. He sees his students and he knows them. Join me for this installment of our series, IN the Classroom, as I sit down with Mr. Baptiste to discuss how he came to Hill Country, his heart for middle school students, and the power of asking students a question of the day.

With Excellence,

Sarah Novlan, Director of Academics

See our previous interviews from the IN the Classroom series here: