Amelia Ray only finished school last year, but she’s already back in the classroom teaching SRE.
Amelia heard a presentation at her church, Harbourside in Coffs Harbour, about the need for more SRE teachers for the local primary school, and she was immediately struck by the conviction that this was something she should do.
“I went to a public school and remember having Scripture classes. It was always fun,” she recalls. Though Amelia comes from a Christian family, she recognises that parents who don’t go to church also choose SRE. SRE can help all kids ask questions about God.
After having some conversations with her pastor and the SRE coordinator, Amelia began her online training. She says of this training, “I normally prefer doing things face to face, I’m a visual learner so I like to see people doing things. But the online training was good. There were photos and videos and it was all easy to understand.”
Then it was into the classroom to shadow another teacher for a few weeks, and get some hands-on experience. And finally, Amelia was ready to take on her own class of Year 1 and 2 students.
So far, she’s loving it. The kids are engaged and happy to see her each week. They ask questions, they have fun together and they find all the Bible stories exciting.
There are a few kids from Christian families in Amelia’s class. These kids like to tell her what they’ve been learning at church or show her what they’ve read in the Bible recently, which brings Amelia great joy.
But for the rest of the children, the Bible is completely new and they have lots of questions about God.
In a recent lesson, Amelia was teaching the kids about the Lord’s Prayer. She was worried at first that the kids wouldn’t be interested in this topic, but was delighted to discover that all of them wanted to pray the prayer with her at the end of class, and they asked questions about the meaning of each line.
“One kid asked about the line, ‘give us this day our daily bread’, ‘Oh, so is God going to send us hamburgers from the sky?’ So we got to talk about what it means to ask God for food and how he takes care of us,” Amelia recalls.
This is the power of SRE – kids are given an opportunity during the school day to dig deeply into who God is, and what it means to have a relationship with him.
Sometimes there are challenges in managing a classroom or answering tricky questions, but Amelia feels her training prepared her well to respond to any issues and keep the class focused on the Bible. “I’ll sometimes not realise until later that I used a strategy that we talked about in training and then I’ll think ‘Oh, that’s where I learned that!’”
Amelia’s classes are full of acting out stories, songs and looking at pictures. She likes to get the kids up and moving so they have fun and find learning about the Bible engaging.
And when Amelia feels nervous, she doesn’t worry too much, because “You don’t need to be afraid to look silly, because they like it! They love when I’m not just sitting there and reading a story – they like to have fun and make it creative.”
To other prospective SRE teachers and supporters of SRE, Amelia wants us to remember: “This might be the only opportunity that the kids get to explore questions about God, if they don’t go to church or their family doesn’t go to church or they don’t know anybody who knows God.” Parents choosing SRE might be the only opportunity kids have to get their questions answered.
Praise God for SRE teachers like Amelia who are continuing to provide kids with this opportunity at school.
Want to support the training of more SRE teachers like Amelia, so they are ready to go into classrooms help kids explore faith in God? Give now to the PY EOFY Appeal.