“Every day I’m thankful for the biblical education I received at Calvary”
Alish Joyce graduated from Calvary University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education before getting her Master’s in Special Education from Bethel University. For the last four years, she has been teaching at Providence School of Art in Kansas City.
Providence incorporates all kinds of different learning styles in all their classes. “The reason that we do that,” Joyce explained, “is because we really believe that it’s important to equip students with a varied experience in education. We really want to reach the whole child and give them not only academics, but also the arts because we believe that all the skills that they learn in their art classes help form the skills that they learn later in life— it equips them for whatever God has for them in the future. The arts provide a lot of experience in problem-solving, learning how to work with other people, and communication skills. All of those things are really important for people to learn in general, so we made a point of including that in our school.”
Another thing which makes Providence unique is the demographic of their students. “Our school is specifically designed to reach students from a variety of different educational backgrounds,” Joyce said. “So that’s why I ended up with a lot of students in my class whose needs might be a little different than what might be considered a typical learner.”
Even in the non-arts classes, the teachers at Providence try to incorporate creativity in their lessons. “I teach the advanced class,” Joyce said, “I have the fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade students. I’m not an arts teacher, I’m just a regular classroom teacher. I do math, science, and all those things. But we do try to incorporate as much as we can of creativity and movement a lot. If you look around, it’s not a very typical classroom. It has a trampoline— that is an actual seat that students sit in. We’ve got all kinds of different seating options just because we believe in meeting children where they’re at and then helping them learn what they need to learn.”
Joyce said that she is thankful for what she learned at CU. “We teach Bible classes here, and I feel like every day I’m thankful for the biblical education I received at Calvary because the kids will ask me the craziest questions, and I feel like if I didn’t go to a college that had those Bible classes I feel like I would be like, ‘Uhh, you should really talk to your parents about that,’ because I would have no idea how to answer it… But I have been able to discuss those things with them because of the truths that I learned while I was at Calvary.”
Joyce then talked about how she sometimes questions whether she’s where she is meant to be. “I think that once you graduate and you start a career there’s this tendency to question, ‘Am I doing the right thing? Am I on the right path? Is this really what God has for me?’” She then continued, saying, “Because everything can seem so mundane after a while. I’ve been working at this school for four years now— I mean a lot has changed, they do keep me on my toes here— but, when you’re getting up every morning to go to work, it’s like, ‘Is this really what God has for me? I thought it would be more exciting than this.'”
But in the middle of the mundane, she is able to take joy in how she sees God working in the kids’ lives. “I’ve gotten to do so many cool things, gotten to walk with these kids through so many big things in their lives… I’ve been with the same kids all along.” Joyce says that every year there’s at least one moment where she thinks, “This is it. This is why I’m here.” Whether it’s a conversation with one of the kids, providing the students with the support they need, or helping to provide a safe space, like Providence, where they can learn and grow. “Because I’m here, I can provide that for them.”