Everyone hold your bells quietly … and now ring them as loudly as you can!”
All of a sudden, the classroom erupts in the joyful ringing of handbells. It’s a familiar scene at the end of music class, all the students ringing their bells at the same time. They love it, and look forward to this end-of-class tradition.
Handbells are new for this kindergarten and first-grade class at Hoover Christian School (HCS), and teaching music is new for Cindy Fisk. She’s a veteran teacher, but this is her first year teaching kindergarten and first grade, along with music. After 16 years teaching in public school, Fisk felt God calling her to Christian education.
“It thrills my heart to hear these little voices reciting the memory verses or retelling a Bible story,” Fisk says. “All of this is impossible in our public educational systems.”
Fisk also relishes the hands-on experiences she can provide for her students at HCS. Walk into her classroom, and you’ll find grow lights and apple seeds, paper cutouts of plant parts, and a hummingbird feeder right outside the window. “I was surprised how quickly the hummingbirds found the feeder,” Fisk says.
Her students love to explore plant parts at recess, and Fisk has definitely helped them enjoy finding signs of God’s creation. “Teaching here is a dream come true,” says Fisk. “I can talk freely about God’s love, His plan for our lives, and His amazing creative power.”
Fisk isn’t the only one who loves the God-centered aspect of Christan education. The parents love it too. One day, one of Fisk’s students went home and told her mother the story of Jonah. The student’s mother was thrilled that her child is in an environment where she can hear about God during the school day. “That’s why I send her here,” the mother says.
Teaching in a multigrade classroom has been new for Fisk, but she sees having more than one grade as an advantage. “Each student can be instructed at his or her point of need without feeling behind,” Fisk says. “Since we don’t stress the high-stakes testing process and scores, I have more flexibility in how I teach the curriculum. Learning can be fun and varied every day.”
HCS started a kindergarten program in 1995, and it has run continuously ever since. Fisk is the fifth teacher to instruct HCS’s kindergarteners. Even though she did not teach kindergarten and first grade during her public school career, she says she enjoys the enthusiasm these young learners bring. “They’re so excited to learn!” she says.
Fisk was pleasantly surprised by the longer recess times allowed at HCS. “One of the biggest benefits our students enjoy are the daily recess times,” she says. “Even when it rains, they still have free playtime. In schools with testing pressures, teachers often don’t feel free to take their students outside for play breaks. It warms my heart to hear my students squealing on the swings or calling to each other from the forts they build among the trees in our schoolyard,” she says. “I feel so blessed to be part of the Hoover Christian School team.”
has been teaching at Hoover Christian School since 2007. Trent also attended HCS as a child.
Gulf States | April 2021