Shannon Lair ('08) | Teacher Education

shannon lair

First-grade teacher
at Kigali International Community School

Preparing to teach an active bunch of first-graders for the first time is hard under any circumstances - but how about a world apart on a different continent?   

That's what May 2008 graduate Shannon Lair is doing right now — teaching first grade at Kigali International Community School in Kigali, Rwanda. If it hadn't been for the education and experiences that Shannon received at ACU, those Kigali children wouldn't be so blessed today.

The wonderful thing about being at ACU is that I was constantly surrounded by students and faculty that were not going to be satisfied by ordinary. My education classes, Bible classes, chapel and even co-curricular activities were all somehow integrated with a certain faith that demanded seeking and living out the will of God.

"My classroom being in Africa has presented a different set of challenges, but my professors helped me by connecting me with many resources over the years," Shannon said.

Shannon credits ACU with giving her the preparation she needs to be a first-rate teacher, no matter where, and with deepening her understanding of the importance of bringing her faith to the classroom.

First - the educational experience. Shannon said she learned from a variety of top-notch professors and from doing actual teaching herself. Having a one-on-one relationship with faculty was invaluable.

"Being observed in teaching by people that I trusted and who knew me well made a difference," Shannon said. "I could share my own self-criticism openly and get real, helpful, and personal advice on how to be a better teacher."

Add a measure of faith, and you get the total package. "It is only by faith that I accepted the job in Rwanda," Shannon said. "As much as I tried to resist, I am confident that the Lord placed me in Kigali for a purpose. I was blessed to have professors who were joining me in prayer over the decision to teach overseas."

An ACU education added a special dimension that Shannon doesn't think is available just anywhere. Some of her professors had done mission work or taught overseas, so they could help prepare Shannon for what to expect.

More importantly, they instilled in her the belief that teaching involves much more than just passing on knowledge. "Throughout my education at ACU, I was reminded that teaching is an important ministry," Shannon said.

That's the ACU difference.

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Serving Local Schools
Reagan-Elementary
ACU Teacher Education majors get hands-on with students at a local elementary school.