Benjamin Bain, MS Ed

Benjamin BainAsk 2010 MS Ed graduate Ben Bain what makes his work as principal and teacher at St. John’s in Red Wing, MN, special, and he’s likely to say, “The people I get to work with really make this a special place, and that’s been a real privilege.”

In fact, the congregation, parents and faculty have supported his graduate studies in various ways. The congregation helped pay for some of his credits. Ben adds, “People have said things to me like, ‘It’s good that you’re doing that.’”

When Ben received his diploma in May 2010, the people he serves celebrated with him. The congregation honored Ben with a reception. In a separate party his pastor, faculty, and staff held a “mock” graduation ceremony. “The party was a bit crazy,” wrote Ben. The pictures show Pastor Loren Lucht in his “regalia” awarding Ben (dunce cap) while the faculty looks on.

Why did Ben choose to get his master’s degree? “I just felt like there was so much more to learn.” He asked himself, “How do I hone those skills? What do I need to do to better help the kids learn?” Ben enrolled in the MLC master’s program in the instruction emphasis.

Ben Bain mock graduation 1Ben found that the MLC master’s program helped him reach his goals right away. “One of the first courses I took was about Reading and Language Arts. When I came back, I began to use a number of pieces. There were things that I had tried in the past that didn’t work out, and now I felt more comfortable on how I can approach it so that I’m not cheating the kids of certain things. And yet I’m giving them the opportunity to grow and learn.”

Ben likes to give his students ownership in the curriculum. He related a Science unit on natural disasters in which the students devised their questions and got to pick what they wanted to learn. Ben taught them how to research, cite references and structure their learning. They did the rest and shared what they learned in power point presentations. Why? “They’re finding more information than what there was in the book in the first place, and they’re more interested in it than just, ‘read this chapter in the book,’” says Ben.

This past summer, the enrollment at Ben’s school took a jump. Its reputation for Christian love and academics is well-known, and when a different Christian school closed, many looked to St. John’s. Ben and his school serve as an excellent example of what continuing education for teachers is all about.