Resources and Reflections for Teachers

As our teachers, scholars, and staff innovate, experiment, and pioneer new modes of teaching about religion, we also make space to reflect upon these experiences and this work. This page is meant to be a resource for all teachers in Baltimore and beyond on the challenges, opportunities, and new frontiers of teaching interreligiously.

June 29, 2020
baltimore-area synagogue mosque and church

Confessions of a Religious “None” Educator

ICJS Teacher Fellow Travis Henschen discusses the rise in religious “nones” occurring across age groups and his interest in engaging more intentionally in dialogue with his students about their experience of religion and exposing them to the incredible religious diversity of the United States and the world.
June 23, 2020
bookbag by windows with old books in foreground

We Teach How We Are Taught

This fellowship and the community of colleagues and scholars has shown me just how limited my own understanding of the world truly has been, and that the status quo of “teaching how we were taught” simply cannot stand.
May 19, 2020
stack of books depicted on DNA background

What Can the Prophets Teach Young People During the COVID-19 Crisis?

Somewhere in all of our classrooms is an angsty kid scarfing down metaphorical communion wafers while the pastor’s back is turned. They’re not sinners or hypocrites. They’re just hungry. Teachers in a religious institution have an obligation not to feed them catechism, dogma, or heaping spoonfuls of guilt. Instead, we should give them the confidence to ask bold questions about themselves and their world, so that when they arrive at their truths about religion, about faith, or about their sense of self, it is because they found that truth on their own. 
May 8, 2020
top half of mans face with question marks around top of head

Giving Our Students Confidence to Ask Bold Questions

Somewhere in all of our classrooms is an angsty kid scarfing down metaphorical communion wafers while the pastor’s back is turned. They’re not sinners or hypocrites. They’re just hungry. Teachers in a religious institution have an obligation not to feed them catechism, dogma, or heaping spoonfuls of guilt. Instead, we should give them the confidence to ask bold questions about themselves and their world, so that when they arrive at their truths about religion, about faith, or about their sense of self, it is because they found that truth on their own. 
April 27, 2020
cut loaf of sourdough bread on wooden surface with flour and grain

COVID 19 Quarantine Day 40: The liturgy remains the same

In a most bizarre holy season of Passover Seders over Zoom, webcast Lenten and Easter services, and streaming Ramadan courses, I have found that my students are hungry for the comfort of their school and faith communities.  They are searching for whatever anchor we can provide as adults, teachers, and faith leaders.
March 27, 2020

Teaching in a Pandemic

Circumstances now compel us to transform ourselves from classroom teachers to asynchronous virtual learning providers in just a few days. Now, we are teaching through pandemic.
March 12, 2020

We are the Something Greater

We all want acceptance and love. Tolerance is no longer enough. We must accept our brothers and sisters of all faiths, give them the space to practice that faith in a safe environment, and show love to them even if their beliefs and practices are not the same as ours.
February 8, 2020
student wearing hijab carrying textbooks

Empowering Religious Literacy in the Classroom

"As I approach lesson planning this year, I feel empowerment rather than the apprehension I felt last year. The opportunity to develop some religious literacy in my class this year, however small, is very exciting."
October 8, 2019

Holding Dearly to Faith At the Southern Border

Last summer I had a life-changing experience visiting migrant centers in both El Paso and Juarez. The picture that most Americans will never see of men, women, and children awaiting a decision that will impact their lives in conditions that are difficult to bear, is at best daunting and at worst hopeless.
April 30, 2019

If there is anyone who could understand the dynamics of hate and heresy, it would be Elie Weisel.

The following is a guest post by Ben Maerzke, a 2018–19 ICJS Teaching Fellow: If there is anyone who could understand the dynamics of hate and heresy, it would be […]
April 2, 2019

Teaching religion in a Jewish history class

The following is a guest post by Jill Azenstein, Jewish History Teacher at Beth T’Filoh Dahan Community School and a 2018–19 ICJS Teaching Fellow. Why can’t we use the Bible […]
March 19, 2019

Why Study Religion?

The following is a guest post by Aaron Goldman, Upper School Dean of Students at Gilman School and a 2018–19 ICJS Teaching Fellow. An average high school student in the […]