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Barefoot Learning

August 31, 2017
By Shelli Cammenga, CCHS English Teacher

One of the many reasons I became a teacher was because of the multitude of meaningful experiences I had during my own education. One lesson that I always remember was from convocation my Sophomore year at Providence Christian College. The speaker got up to the pulpit, said a prayer, and then asked us to take our shoes off. He wasn't kidding. He waited to continue until all the parents, students, and visiting college presidents bent down and uncovered their feet. The strangeness of having bare feet in an extremely formal environment made each word he spoke after sink in more firmly. His strange request was alluding, of course, to Moses and the burning bush. 

"As a Christian educator, I am daily blessed to stand in the presence of God, and am given the call to lead my students into a deeper understanding of who God is..."


In Exodus 3, when Moses answers God's call out of the bush with, "Here I am," God spoke, commanding him to not come any closer but to "take off your sandals, for the place you are standing is Holy Ground." As a Christian educator, I am daily blessed to stand in the presence of God, and am given the call to lead my students into a deeper understanding of who God is, who they are, and how sifting thoughtful literary analysis through the lens of scripture can provide a growing insight into the truth and lies they will face all their lives. When we learn at Calvin, we are glorifying God. In Hebrew, the word "avodah" means both work and worship, and through their learning, students at Calvin are being trained to experience God's order and sovereignty in all subjects, and all things inside their classwork and out.

Now, requiring my students to take off their shoes is something I will probably not ask a bunch of sweaty highschoolers, who just got done running around in gym class, to do on my clean classroom carpet, but that particular imagery is a story I tell them every year the same day we go over all the minutia in my syllabus. With all the details they are asked to keep track of, I hope to always inspire my students to see the big picture and keep things in perspective: every breath we take, we are learning and living before a Holy God who says of his creation "every square inch is mine." It is a calling we take seriously... even if it requires barefoot learning.