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Post Reply Teachers: Crossing the Church / State line
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Posted 3/14/16
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2016/03/14/a-student-asks-a-teacher-if-she-believes-in-god-what-is-the-right-response/
This topic is for both teachers and students or anyone who wants to weigh in on this subject.
If you have a teacher, is there one who mixes their faith with their teaching too much?
How much is just right, if any?
Sometimes I hear Christians say, 'I lead my life in a very Christian way, I can't just leave that at home when I'm in class.' Or 'God calls on me to teach, so I must teach about what I've learned from God,' or something along those lines.
Read the article I linked. I think it summarized reasonable guidelines about how Christians can live their faith in school, and participate with students or teachers without violating the principles of the Establishment Clause.
And also this applies to atheists who are teachers. We've heard stories about how some teachers have tried to interfere with expressions of religion in school, sometimes with the school actually going a little bit too far in how much it can promote, and sometimes not.
As a teacher I try to avoid anything concerning faith or religion. I think it's just better to move onto a different subject, just focus on the lesson materials. For me, my teaching work has nothing to do with what I believe or don't believe in my world view.
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Posted 3/14/16

JustineKo2 wrote:
As a teacher I try to avoid anything concerning faith or religion. I think it's just better to move onto a different subject, just focus on the lesson materials. For me, my teaching work has nothing to do with what I believe or don't believe in my world view.


As it should be. If you cannot leave your religion at home, whatever it may be, then do not take a job at a public school. Simple as that. And that goes for any government job ( Hello, Kim Davis ). The government is secular. If you cannot abide by that then do not apply for, run for or accept a job in government. You can't take a job as a secular agent then yell that your religious liberties are being infringed when you are asked to perform your job in a secular manner.

It drives me batty at the amount of news stories burbling up from certain states that are basically just attempts at theocracy that ultimately serve no purpose. Except to waste tax payers money winding up through the courts until a federal court puts their foot down.
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Posted 3/14/16
My fifth grade teacher didn't allow us to say "oh my God".
She was a devout Mormon and told us that saying that was a sin.
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Posted 3/14/16
If it were a public school I'd be honest: "This isn't the place or time to discuss that." Of course, I'd be a little less abrasive and robotic about it, but that's the spirit of the response I'd give.
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44 / M / WA
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Posted 3/14/16 , edited 3/14/16
Teachers cannot prevent students from incorporating their faith into assignments either; when I was in High School I did an assignment in science class critical of the theory of evolution - teacher disagreed with me ...but I wound up with the highest grade in the class!

The school that fired the coach for praying after a football game crossed the line.
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Posted 3/14/16
As a university student I can't see myself ever asking this question. I don't even ask or get asked this question by friends and family. It's not even about being secular at this point; that's a really personal question.
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Posted 3/15/16
There are difficulties with expressing your faith as a teacher (or part of the school administration) in the public education system.

To start with, it is improper use of your authority as a teacher to promote any specific religion or creed. You're there to educate students, not to be their priest/pastor/imam/holy man.

Secondly, both the US constitution and state laws prohibit anything that smacks of a state sponsored religion - Bringing your faith overtly into a public school would be treading very close to doing just that. The example of the coach that was censured for praying after a game? The school was correct in terminating his contract - he essentially had a captive audience that could not leave until the prayer was done.

If you really want to impress students with your faith, then live that faith. You're welcome to discuss your faith off campus and not acting as a member of the school staff. On campus, during hours of operation, is not the time for proselytizing or discussing the merits of your faith unless it is actually part of the curriculum.

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Posted 3/15/16
And this is why the Almighty Lord,

The Flying Spaghetti Monster

Was born. No joke. This is the reason he was born lol.
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Posted 3/15/16
You're hired to do your job. That is to teach what is on the curriculum. If your religious beliefs aren't on that curriculum, it's outside your scope of employment to teach them.
Posted 3/15/16
I was always told in school that teachers weren't even allowed to talk about their faith. They shouldn't talk about their faith. It's unprofessional.
Posted 3/15/16
Depends. Wouldn't hurt to gain insights in some religions. I prefer politics to be kept outside the classroom though, but I think High School teachers should be free of the burden.
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Posted 3/15/16

dougeprofile wrote:

Teachers cannot prevent students from incorporating their faith into assignments either; when I was in High School I did an assignment in science class critical of the theory of evolution - teacher disagreed with me ...but I wound up with the highest grade in the class!

The school that fired the coach for praying after a football game crossed the line.

Are you saying a teacher cannot discriminate against a student for having an assignment that reflected on the student's faith if the assignment topic was general that didn't necessarily pertain to religion? This kind of seems similar to the matter of conversational topics on a teacher's breaktime (from the article). If it's a situation that doesn't apply, then whether it's religious in nature or not is irrelevant.

Perhaps your science paper was well written and researched but if the teacher was obliged to give you a good grade (ie to avoid any accusation of discriminating against you), how do you know you actually had a outstanding paper?
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Posted 3/15/16
Its a different subject when it involves elementary/middle school kids, they will always be curious about everything asking questions. If they want to learn, teaching is much more than about curriculum and textbooks. Great teachers are the type that teach students lifelong lessons that are useful beyond the classroom. I agree with the guy saying keep it brief if you have to, and of course don't let students get off topic in the middle of a lecture. But that's different for the informal style that elementary school has. I guess in high school students feel forced to attend classes, and well, college...in my experience teachers behave any way they want with no regard for rules.
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23 / M / Texas
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Posted 3/15/16
Quite honestly from what I have seen my mother go through when teaching I'm surprised that any teacher would have time to teach their kids anything other than the subjects that they are given.
Posted 3/15/16
This is a loaded topic I was a teacher for 2 years I think I am not going touch on this one!
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