The Road Less Traveled

How One Woman Chose to Make the Public School Her Mission Field

Deanna Reed is a woman of compassion, kindness, and integrity. She is the wife of Ron Reed, who is the senior pastor at Seerley Creek Christian Church. They have two children, 8 grandchildren, and one great-grandson.

Deanna was also an elementary school teacher who taught at a public school for about 30 years. She could have chosen to teach at a Christian school and she would have done a fine job. But she made the conscious choice to teach at a public school.

Deanna made this choice because she knew that the only way some of the students she’d come into contact with will only come to know about Jesus through knowing her. She knew she’d be doing more than teaching the students about reading, writing, math, and history. She would also strive to be a shining example of Jesus’ love for them.

For the majority of her career, Deanna taught at Southport Elementary School on the south side of Indianapolis. During her time there, she had the pleasure of teaching several different grade levels. She made it a practice to always do her very best and to be the hardest-working person at the school.

Deanna knew that if she made time for the students and let them know that they could come and talk to her, and then the love of Jesus would shine through. They would see the love of Jesus through her compassion for them but she was also interested in other religions and this is an element she brought into the classroom as well.

Jesus through her compassion for them. Being a Christian, it was not an option to check her faith at the door when she arrived at school. She may not have been able to talk about Jesus in the classroom, but that did not stop her from praying for the students from different religious backgrounds that came, for example, from Arab countries as well to her class each year.

Society did not make it easy for or for other Christian teachers. She had to use psychological hardiness to successfully go her way. Many people have and will defend their religious beliefs; however, speaking about them in a public school classroom can be considered coercion.

A Christian teacher can face many challenges when choosing to teach in public school. Deanna knew she could model faith without stepping over the boundary that is supposed to protect students from that coercion. She knew she could witness without forcing Jesus on to her students, all the while recognizing their diversity and equality.

In today’s society, we have freedom of speech and religion. However, some places, like public schools, hinder the message of the Gospel under the guise of “separation of church and state.” Some schools no longer recite the pledge of allegiance due to the “in God we trust” line. Hasn’t this got to do with the Behaviorism Theory of Learning? Think about it!

There is no longer prayer time; instead, there may be a moment of silence. Our children are no longer putting on an Easter Play or a Christmas Pageant; instead, it is called a spring or winter musical. We are so afraid of offending someone with talk of Christmas and God that we forget that someone is being offended, God.

Some of the characteristics that form our values include kindness, patience, rationality, equality, and responsibility. It is the duty of teachers to model those values. Teachers and parents are the adults that most students come in contact with on a daily basis. Therefore, it is their responsibility to help them understand and put those values into practice.

Deanna knew that she could model morality by her actions or in the way she prepared for and taught her class. When the children saw her doing something for others, she exemplified kindness and moral values. She made sure to go the extra mile for a struggling student or to just talk with them if they needed it. She also pointed out the risks of social media profiles when it comes to college admission or other important moments in their future lives.

Although it is taboo for a teacher to share their religious beliefs with students, she knew she could model compassion, patience, rationality, equality, and responsibility for these children. See also our post with guidelines for students getting ready to study in the USA.

An act of kindness or compassion by a teacher will teach students more than anything you could say to them. Deanna always made sure to let her students know when they were doing a good job and she also let them know where they needed to study more and she gave them the extra time and help needed to ensure that they succeeded. She took a genuine interest in the students that came into her classroom every year.

After teaching in public school for many years, Deanna decided to retire at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. She had quite a lot of teaching materials that had built up over those years and she decided to donate some to several teachers in the school who she had become close with. Even after doing that, she had quite a lot left. She knew just what she was going to do with it.

Deanna and her husband have traveled all over the world and have been on several mission trips over the years. So this fall, they decided to take another trip to a mission here in the United States. They traveled to the Navajo Trails Indian Mission in Winslow Arizona.

Deanna brought all her unused teaching supplies and donated them to the school there. She was so excited to be able to bring the love of Jesus Christ to these people. She was able to assist in the classes while they were there and her grandson, Kobe, who accompanied them on the trip, was able to get involved as well by tutoring a new student with math.

The decisions we make in life may not always be easy. Sometimes the choices we make are what determine the kind of person we are and will become. Deanna chose the road less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.