As a second-grade teacher at Trinity Presbyterian School, explain how you bring your faith into the classroom?
Sharing my faith flows naturally. I am grateful for the freedom to do so in the classroom. During our class Bible time, I share how the scriptures we read have affected my life. As we share prayer requests and pray together, students hear me ask for God’s wisdom, strength, and guidance.
You are also a swim coach at Trinity. How did your passion for the sport emerge?
When I began teaching at Trinity, our school did not have a formal swim team, but we did have students who swam and wanted to compete for our school. I was happy to help make that happen for those students. Cheering on our students and watching them work hard and grow in a sport they love is fun! I do love the sport of swimming; however, my true passion is supporting our students. Thankfully, our community coach Rachel Arnold does all the real coaching.
How do you integrate your Christian worldview with your academic discipline?
I can integrate my Christian worldview into every part of our day. Second graders delight in learning, so I direct their attention to the fact that the wonders of our world are a gift from our Lord. When we read a biography and discuss the lives of others, we talk about how God uses the good and bad things in our lives for His glory. These are just a few examples of what it looks like in my second-grade classroom, but the ultimate goal is to have students use His Word to discern all information.
Describe a time when you had to trust God and walk by faith or when you sought His guidance for a decision.
I have had to walk by faith and trust the Lord to guide and direct my path. One of those times was deciding to teach again after having children. I had been a stay-at-home mom and then a half-day church kindergarten teacher. Being with my children was such a blessing! When I felt the tug to return to the classroom full-time, Trey and I prayed for wisdom about it. God was so sweet to not only unify our hearts, but also to place people and conversations in our lives that guided us toward our decision.
How would you describe your journey of faith?
I have always loved the Lord, but I never viewed myself as a sinner who needed a Savior until 7th grade Youth Camp. After that, I began to read my Bible and study His word independently. My faith deepened when I grew up and entered the real world.
You have a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and a Masters’s as a Reading Specialist. How do you view your work as a vocation, and was it a calling from God?
For me, teaching was absolutely a calling. My job is to teach a curriculum, but my calling is to love, guide, and support children as they grow spiritually, academically, socially, and emotionally.
How do you promote spiritual formation in the lives of your students?
1 John 4:16 tells us we must know and believe the love God has for us to belong to him. I intentionally point out His blessings in my students’ lives—especially the gifts that are unique to each of them. These blessings are evidence of His great love for each of us.
Your husband Trey attended Trinity for ten years, as well as your two boys (James and Joe). Did their attendance impact your decision to teach there?
Trey loved his time at Trinity, and we saw great value in his Christian education. A school that would help us point our boys to Jesus was important to us. We also liked the confidence, respect, and faith demonstrated by the Trinity students in our community. We are grateful for all our school family poured into James (2020) and Joe (2022). Trinity was the best school for our family and teaching there is a blessing.
What areas of involvement in your current job give you personal satisfaction?
I love children! It delights me to create ways to make learning fun and exciting for students. The smiles on their faces make the extra efforts worth it. I love partnering with parents too. It is an honor to share in their learning journey.
How do you nurture yourself and your family spiritually?
For me, nothing is better than my time alone with God. It is where I find peace. The dinner table has been a place for us to pray, share, and encourage one another as a family. Now that meals with our boys happen less, I text them to encourage them and remind them how much they are loved—by Jesus and me.
Jennifer Handey is married to Trey Handey, and they have two sons. She grew up and resides in Montgomery, AL.