Navigating middle school and high school can be one of the hardest challenges children face as the social aspects of school are highly overlooked. For some students it can be a wonderful experience full of life-giving moments. For others, not so much. High school can be a dreaded and anxiety-induced seven hours of their day.
In our day and age, people expect students to not only succeed but to excel in all their academics. This is creating one of the most stressed out and anxious generations. But who are the people in students’ lives that mentor them and guide them into success? Here at Lipscomb, Amy Welch is one of those mentors and has been for many years.
Mrs. Welch has been a part of the Lipscomb community for about 13 years. She started her work here in 2009, after college. Since then, she has had multiple roles in the community. She has been a math and science tutor, a counselor, a psychology teacher and the director of spiritual life.
Growing up, educators were all around Mrs. Welch, but despite this, her initial plan wasn’t to work in a school.
“Both of my parents were in education and my sister is, like that’s kind of just what we did. Even aunts, uncles, grandparents,” Welch said. “But I was not gonna be a teacher.”
Welch has accumulated multiple degrees over her academic career. She went to school for a bachelor’s in psychology, Master of Science in social work, and a minor in Bible. When she became a teacher she earned her Master of Arts in Christian ministry.
After her bachelor’s degree, Welch found it best to get her master’s. Fortunately, being a faculty member at Lipscomb, she could take classes over at the university.
“I didn’t get my second master’s until just a few years ago,” Welch said. “One of the benefits of being here is that you can get classes, and so I started taking a couple classes just thinking about what would help me specifically in spiritual life. I had a minor in Bible, but I thought I could take some classes and that will help me more.”
One of her favorite things about teaching is helping students push through struggles both mentally and academically.
It was evident that her love and passion for teaching was a gift and a plan God had set for her, even though she didn’t realize it until later.
As Christians in a giant community, it’s hard to differentiate yourself and set yourself apart. Mrs. Welch has taken the skills she has learned and implemented them into students’ spiritual lives.
She and Melanie Grogan worked together to create a program here at Lipscomb that combines social-emotional learning (SEL) with spiritual learning and skills.
“I like dealing with students, I like teaching. It was fun for me to work with somebody and find a new way to teach them,” Welch said.
Faith In SEL
Schools and Businesses teach SEL as a way to provide efficiency and success in professional environments. Mrs. Welch described them as “The skills that help us succeed.”
These “skills” include the major soft skills that we start to develop at a young age. SEL encourages students to enact goal-setting behaviors, optimistic thinking and self-awareness. All of these skills are incredibly important to the lower school students. They help students handle situations respectfully and help them comprehend others people’s outlooks. Perspective is very important when settling disagreements or disputes among children.
Welch sees the benefits of this learning in her own child.
“Like my fourth grader, when he was probably in second grade, we were talking one day and he said … ‘it’s just a matter of perspective,’ and I was like, ‘you know what, you’re right,’” Welch said.
Throughout her time at Lipscomb, Welch noticed that as Christians, our faith goes hand in hand with SEL. Those characteristics and skills show us who God intends for us to be and how we should act. Building a faith-centered lifestyle and skill set will not only help students deepen their faith, but it will help them assess and understand situations through Christian lenses.
Whether it’s in your spiritual life journey or navigating high school, Welch certainly is one person to count on to be there for guidance and help. Besides having obvious qualifications, she’s had so much experience here, she is constantly involved, and is an amazing example of what it means to Love the Lord.