The continuing understanding of, commitment to, and impact of the spiritual principles of the Lutheran teaching ministry on the 1972 graduates of Concordia Teachers College
The literature suggests that Lutheran teachers have historically struggled with salary and their status within the Lutheran church. Previous research has explored these and other motives for withdrawal from the teaching ministry. Yet little has been written about the impact of the spirituality of the teaching ministry on Lutheran teachers themselves. Reliable research is still needed on a group of Lutheran teachers 20-25 years after their professional formation. How many are still teaching, or have left teaching, and WHY? What is their continuing understanding of and commitment to the spiritual principles of their own teaching ministry? The 1972 graduates of Concordia Teachers College, Nebraska were asked to explore their expectations, motives, perceptions, and experiences. All who could be located received the survey instrument. Respondents became the self-selected sample to be analyzed. The survey focused on their professional formation, continuing career commitment, and their understanding of the spirituality of the teaching ministry. When all returned surveys were analyzed for thematic patterns, interviews were conducted on the basis of significant themes which emerged in the survey evidence. Responding to the invitation to explore the spiritual principles of the Lutheran teaching ministry, survey respondents identified five which were confirmed in the interviews: (1) Teach and share the Word of God. (2) Obey God's call to teach. (3) Serve as a Christian example and role-model. (4) Enable children to live their Christian faith. (5) Teach and promote the Christ-centered curriculum. Both survey and interview evidence confirmed salary ; status , and withdrawal from the teaching ministry as continuing concerns; and an increasing shortage of qualified teachers professionally formed in a Lutheran teacher education program. Two other themes which emerged were the erosion of the family and growing presence of non-Lutheran students. Based on a 51% survey return rate, respondents did continue to have a clear understanding and strong commitment to the spiritual principles of the Lutheran teaching ministry. They further believed that those principles have made a significant impact in their lives; that was true for those who have withdrawn from the teaching ministry and those who have remained in it. These conclusions from the survey evidence were confirmed in the interviews.
Richard Karl Schnake,
"The continuing understanding of, commitment to, and impact of the spiritual principles of the Lutheran teaching ministry on the 1972 graduates of Concordia Teachers College"
(January 1, 1999).
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