Hannah Smyth has just completed her first few weeks at BTI. She has moved to Tauranga from Wellington to study to become a primary teacher. This is the story of her new beginning in her own words.
I have always known I was supposed to be a teacher. It was inevitable – it’s in my blood. My whole life, I have been drawn to children and they have been drawn to me. I loved nothing more than to hang out with them, help them learn and watch them develop. I have also always been a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’. It seems this is a trait that is useful for a primary school teacher.
It wasn’t until I started thinking about ‘what I wanted to do with my life’ that I realised that, actually the correct question was, “What does God want me to do with my life?” I just knew in my gut that teaching was it. I feel that God would have me use teaching skills in order to build His kingdom. This led me to leave school at the end of sixth form and attend a well-known secular university that had a very good reputation for their teaching programme. It was a place that created teachers with a lot of knowledge and the degree would enable me to teach both secondary students and primary students. At the same time I began an internship with the Children’s Church Pastors at my Church that would last a year.
That year was the most difficult and most foundational year I have experienced yet. God was teaching me to always come back to Him. Many significant things happened that rocked my comfortable world – God asked me to end a significant relationship and also to step down from leading at a youth group I had been leading at for five years. This was my family. It was difficult to say the least. Whilst this was all happening, I spent every day attending lectures that frustrated me in an environment which hurt me – it was not a place where He was present. I began questioning, seeking and finding God. I was in a headspace I had never experienced before. It was when I was in that space that I came across BTI. I found myself on the website one day and had that same gut feeling. It was where I was supposed to be. Their ethos and values run parallel to my belief of what a true teacher and servant of God should be. So I applied (not really wanting to move to Tauranga) and left it to God. I interviewed – and suddenly it was decided that I was moving.
It has been the best and in some ways most challenging thing I have done. Leaving everyone behind (including an amazing man God has given me) and starting fresh - just God and I, is definitely not what I’m used to, to but it is right and it is orchestrated by Him. BTI is more than I ever imagined. It is the complete opposite of the university I was at (where I was just a number; part of the crowd). The tutors are wise, loving, spiritually mature, and just amazing Godly people. I couldn’t wish for better people to be leading me. The atmosphere at BTI is what a learning community should aim to be. I am so thankful God has brought me to this place.
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