Abrianna Nelson: Grace and Faith in the Classroom

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It was such a pleasure to have Abri lead our conversation on Saturday. I invited her because of the stories she told me once when we had coffee together: how she managed to keep up with and even love all the 130+ students she sees every day in her urban/suburban public high school classrooms. (She teaches world history, social studies, journalism, etc.) All this while maintaining a sane work/life balance that includes triathlon training and a strong faith community. Seriously.

We have many people in our city who come to our gatherings who teach on one level or another (young children in school or Sunday School to adults in workplace trainings), and many of the postures she takes with her students are ones we can use in our general dealings in the workplace and most other scenarios. How much grace should be granted for second (third, fourth?) chances when a test is failed or an assignment is late, balanced against accountability and natural consequences? The answer varies by context: high school classrooms vs elementary level ones, other workplaces, family dynamics, community affairs, and so on. The fact is there are no formulas; Jesus calls us to discern the truths of the situations in which he places us and make the best judgments we can.

Based on love.

Oh, right! Okay. But what does love look like in this or that scenario? Unlimited grace? Tough love? It’s complicated. You get it.

She also did a fine job of outlining how God feels about our work, how He calls us to it and how it mirrors His own. Because this topic of vocation and calling has been a main focus for me for so long, I loved hearing the same message from another source. 

Thank you, Abrianna, for bringing us truth and vision for our lives.