Around the country, the voices of children fill classrooms as teachers lead them in singing. Though these children may not realize it at the time, they are preparing their hearts through songs for the Bible lesson to follow. This practice of singing as part of Bible class is one that PCC’s elementary education graduates learned while taking the course Teaching Bible, now led by veteran teacher Dr. Linda Williams (Elementary Education ’84, M.S. ’96).
“When I became a teacher, I was amazed by how many teachers didn’t have a song time in Bible or would sing by themselves because students didn’t ‘feel’ like singing,” Tammy MacKenzie (Elementary Education ‘19) explained. “I was very intentional about teaching songs, and I even taught my students why we should ‘make a joyful noise,’ using the notes I got from Dr. Williams.”
During her time in the classroom, Tammy worked with various ages from kindergarteners to second graders. She added, “My principal often commented on the joyfulness my class had, and I contribute that to Dr. Williams’s influence in Teaching Bible.”
Effective in the Classroom
For the past eleven years, Dr. Williams has been investing in PCC students through teaching both undergraduate and graduate education courses. Jacqueline Howard (Elementary Education ’22), one of Dr. Williams’s former students, considers her time under Dr. Williams’s instruction to have motivated how she works with her own students, a second-grade class in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Jacqueline said, “[Dr. Williams] always emphasized how serious it was to teach the Bible. How prayer, studying, and time needed to be invested before teaching Bible stories. This has proved to be an important reminder to me because it is easy to slack when things get busy, but the Bible needs to be taught correctly and through the Spirit.”
“The Word of God does not return void,” Jacqueline said, “and after a spark has been lit, it is of utmost importance to be able to kindle the flame and properly lead a child to Christ.”
In addition to the course Teaching Bible, Dr. Williams is also a regular instructor for Materials and Methods and the graduate course Principles of Instruction and Methods. In both these courses, Dr. Williams offers instruction about effective techniques for teaching children and specifics on what a Christian traditional method of teaching includes. As she teaches, she works to make the content feel relevant and applicable.
Principles of Instruction and Methods is how graduate student Chris Campbell (Secondary Education ’22) met Dr. Williams, though he had already heard of her as “Dr. Mom” from some friends who had her as a campus parent. “Dr. Williams helped class content come alive by pouring all her own knowledge and experience into each piece of information,” Chris said. “We often heard her stories about teaching younger grades and what that taught her personally.”
Motivated by Past Experiences
Before teaching at PCC, Dr. Linda Williams held various roles including teaching at Pensacola Christian Academy and working at Youth Outreach Ministry’s Sports Center Day Camp and Camp o’ the Pines. She has also worked at the distribution center for Abeka homeschool materials, presented at teacher conferences, and taught Sunday school at Campus Church. “All of these positions have prepared me for right now,” Dr. Williams said. “They have worked on my heart to be soul-conscious and on my work ethic to always give my best.”
In addition to her work experience, Dr. Williams considers the instruction and mentoring she received at PCC over the years as having fueled her passion for teaching. “The biggest blessing in my life was the one-on-one training I received from godly educators who poured their time and lives into mine,” she said. “Each worked with me, personally encouraging me to be a godly woman, and each had an impact on my teaching journey.”
Passionate about Christ-Centered Education
Now, Dr. Williams is gladly investing in others as they also prepare to serve Christ through education. She is confident that by the time they graduate, education students will be prepared to work in a variety of teaching scenarios. Experiences such as making lesson plans, working with struggling students, and completing an internship at Pensacola Christian Academy give students a cutting edge in traditional Christian education. “Our traditional approach is Christ-centered and teacher led; thus, the students are taught how to lead a classroom in a Christlike manner while educating the heart and mind,” explained Dr. Williams.
Joshua Waters (M.S. Educational Leadership ’21), a teacher at Landmark Christian School in Richmond, Virginia, regularly applies content from Dr. Williams’s graduate class. “The class content that impacted me was how to develop an environment in which students feel comfortable learning,” Joshua said, “and if they make a mistake, they don’t feel embarrassed but know that they are learning and I can help them improve.”
Like many of her other students, Joshua found his time in Dr. Williams’s class to be practical and encouraging. “Dr. Williams inspired me to keep joy while teaching year after year,” Joshua said. “She also challenged me [to] give new ideas a chance but to make sure I do my research and have valuable reasons to make changes or apply new teaching styles.”
But one of the most important things Dr. Williams’s students remember about her is her love for others and her passion for the Lord. Tammy recalled, “[Her] kindness and compassion are what encouraged me to finish my degree and reminded me that I want to be an active and willing participant in whatever God throws my way instead of an obstinate spectator.”
Knowing her students have a desire to walk with Christ and share the gospel with others motivates much of Dr. Linda Williams’s interactions with those in her classes. “First and foremost, I want to know that all of my students know Christ as Savior. Secondly, that the students know I am praying for them,” Dr. Williams shared. “My ultimate goal is that they will grow spiritually and be a better teacher than I could ever be. I want students to love God and love their students.”
Read more about how God is directing and working through PCC faculty and alumni.