"I want to put into the minds of my students that they can be the change that they want to see in the world with the Gospel behind them. Impacting lives and communities is not a high school or adult thing. It is a right here right now kind of thing. You are never too young to start making an impact for Christ."
Join us in welcoming Mr. Eli Duncan to the WCCS family! He is originally from Dalton, Georgia and recently moved to the Rock Hill area as a first year teacher here at WCCS. He has a true passion for reaching youth, and more specifically - middle schoolers! Read on below for more of his story!
WCCS Position for 2020-2021: Middle School Math Teacher
College & Degree: Covenant College BA in Education Studies with concentrations in Mathematics and Social Studies and minors in Mathematics and Coaching & MAT
Tell me a little about you and your family:
I grew up in Dalton, GA as an only child with my mom and dad and began attending a Christian school at the start of sixth grade. Once I graduated from that same Christian school, I went to Covenant College only 45 minutes away from my home in Lookout Mountain, GA where I was a Student Assistant/Manager for the Basketball team and lived on The Five Points for all four years of my undergrad life. I eventually got my Master of Arts in Teaching from Covenant as well and then moved out to Rock Hill to become a teacher here at WCCS at the start of July (July 2020) six hours from the area that I grew up in.
Tells us something that we would be surprised to know about you:
I have a webbed finger.
Describe how you feel God has called you to your particular career path:
I have known since around the end of my junior year of high school that I wanted to work with youth in some capacity in the future. As I began to look closer at my options and goals in life, I thought a teacher would be a great opportunity to help others in the classroom as well as accomplish life goals that I had set. I also felt a call to coach as I grew up in the team atmosphere environment and knew many of my teachers were coaches as well, so coaching would add to my ability to get hired on as a teacher as well as reach students that I may not have otherwise. However, it would not be until I worked a couple of summers as a Camp Counselor where I knew that I wanted to teach the fun and energetic age of middle school.
What attracted you to WCCS?
There are a lot of reasons, but there were two main reasons beyond being able to teach in a Christian school and proclaim the Gospel to each of my students. The first was what they had in place for first-year teachers. Here at WCCS they truly care about their teachers and want to see them grow, so as a first-year teacher they assign me a mentor teacher to help me along as I experience the ups and downs of having my own classroom. Along with my mentor teacher, I have observations that take place that give me feedback from other teachers and administrators, so I can grow and become a better teacher and learn from people that have been doing it longer than I. The second reason is the family atmosphere that I have felt since I was in the interview process and moved here to Rock Hill. Moving away from my family for the first time was going to be tough, but all the teachers, administrators, and their families have gone out of their way to help make this transition smoother in more ways than one whether it has been helping me move-in, inviting me out for dinner, or just asking me how I am doing.
In what particular ways do you hope to shape the learning or spiritual experience of our students here at WCCS?
I hope to grow students not only in their mathematical knowledge but also in their spiritual and personal knowledge as well. One of the large ideas taught in the Education Department at Covenant College is the idea of a student as a whole learner. Our students are made in the image of God, and God is not just a Spiritual being. He's also emotional, physical, and a creative being to just name a few. I want to educate and teach the whole learner, not just the mathematical one.
The WCCS mission statement is “educating students to bless our world as disciples of Jesus Christ”. How do you hope to accomplish this as a faculty/staff member?
I want to put into the minds of my students that they can be the change that they want to see in the world with the Gospel behind them. Impacting lives and communities is not a high school or adult thing. It is a right here right now kind of thing. You are never too young to start making an impact for Christ (1 Timothy 4:12).
What is your biggest desire for each student that walks in to your classroom or office?
Besides that I love them and am there for them, I want students to know that making a mistake is okay. None of us are perfect, and making a mistake is an opportunity to learn and grow. Author and Journalist Alina Tugend writes, "If students are afraid of mistakes, they’re afraid of trying something new, of being creative, of thinking in a different way." While math is important, it is equally important for students to develop these creative and critical thinking skills that can go across multiple disciplines from English and Science to Athletics to even the Arts.