Equipping the next generation with passion and creativity
Craig Duffy makes a lasting impression on the people he encounters. If you know him personally, recall that time he surprised you, or impressed you, challenged you, or left you speechless. Now imagine that charisma, humor and intelligence engaged in the task of teaching elementary school students. Craig’s education, skill set and vast body of experiences have opened up many opportunities to him. He has taught at the collegiate level, and worked at a primary school in the Philippines; he facilitated a summer camp for nearly 100 kids, and he can emcee a wedding like nobody’s business.
So when the Academy for G.O.D. brought him on as a lead teacher last autumn, he was welcomed by both staff and students. All the energy and passion and creativity and tenacity that is Craig Duffy alighted in the classroom, where the young, shining faces of his 9 and 10 year old students greeted him expectantly. The things that have transpired since that day have been nothing short of wonderful.
Throughout the day, Craig teaches them reading and writing, building and bible, literature, conflict resolution and even Spanish. But he doesn’t consider his work to be encapsulated within the dispensing of information, or even in the creative facilitation of learning. He is preparing his students to change the world. “I tell them this quite regularly,” he says. “I let them know that the world has been described as dark and God expects us to be light. That they represent God and must never forget that.”
Craig possesses an astute understanding of the way the world works, and the part he plays within the larger context. “I pour into my students because, through faith, when I see my students, I can see the future. In this way, I am a part of God’s historical work, everyday. How could you not give everything for that?”
Equipping the next generation is no small feat. So how does he reach them? “At our school, we believe that curiosity is at the core of education. I love feeding their curiosity. I will sacrifice a lesson for the sake of fanning the flame of curiosity. Their questions so often are a lead into something great...but then there are times where I could be in the middle of the most profound, inspired moment, and a student will raise their hand. I'll assume something amazing is happening in their heart and so I call on them and they say, 'Can I go get a drink of water?'”
Craig believes that, with consistency sustained by faith, his work will produce a lasting effect in his students. “I used to think that people experienced change because of a dramatic event that had an immediate impact. But I now believe that working on the heart is more like the work of a blacksmith, repeatedly striking and turning, heating and cooling, demanding a certain amount of stamina, and faith, simply because the changes in each strike are so subtle, yet necessary.
I know that it will be a consistent expense of energy and faith that gives shape.” The tireless efforts of the Academy teachers are fueled by such beliefs, which has birthed a school culture of positivity and creativity, where students come alive. And this is the reward worth giving everything for.