“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
Mr. Tom VanderStelt
I received my bachelors degree in elementary education from Calvin College in 1987. I majored in social studies with an emphasis in American history. I finished my Master’s work at Grand Valley State University in the early 1990’s. My masters degree is in elementary education. In 1987, I joined the Hudsonville Christian School staff as a fourth grade teacher and have continued in that position to this day.
In 1982, I married my wife, Joani. Joani is a Young 5’s teacher at Hudsonville Christian. We have two sons. Adam, our oldest, has been married to Rachel for eight years and works as a worship leader at an area church. Our youngest son, Aaron, is a network engineer at Holland Hospital. We have one grandchild, Faye, who is two years old.
I enjoy bowling, golf, hiking, and reading. Other than working with my fourth graders, being on the Global Awareness Committee is my favorite school activity. I enjoy working to build a relationship between our school and other schools. I believe that our school and I have both been blessed by this relationship.
I have done many different types of work in my life, but none has been more satisfying than teaching. I feel called to serve God by teaching His covenant children. I am blessed by the opportunity to teach at HCS.
When I read the parables of Jesus, I see He had a sense of humor. He knew the religious leaders of the time and told stories that they understood, yet put them in a humorous position. I enjoy using humor in my classroom also. Adults enjoy having “fun” while they work; students should too. There is a time to get down to serious work and a time to play.
The parents of the students in our school are great! We, as teachers, can always count on them to be involved in their children’s education. I communicate regularly through class newsletters but love to hear from parents over the phone or e-mail.
As a graduate from a public high school, I see some definite advantages to teaching in a Christian school. I can openly and honestly speak of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We can pray spontaneously. Moreover, I can discuss with my students ways in which we serve God while being a light in the world.
I am a strong believer in the principles taught in Colossians 3: 23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” I try to live this way and expect my students to also. I love teaching. If I stop loving teaching or if I become ineffective, I ask God for the grace to help me move on to what He has planned for me.