Craig Ketchum (’10) was always drawn to the field of education. His mother and two of his grandparents were teachers, and he found himself inspired by them and their work at a young age.
Craig loves helping others learn and feels that one of the most satisfying things is seeing people grow to become who they were made to be.
“I love teaching because I love learning,” says Craig. “Those lightbulb moments are extremely rewarding. It’s so satisfying to see people discover things.”
Since graduating from Trinity Western, Craig has worked as a teacher in both elementary and high schools, as well as a mentor to other adults. Although he trained in elementary school education, he soon realized he preferred working with high school students, as he found himself especially drawn to teaching higher level critical thinking skills and discussing more abstract concepts.
“Without critical thinking and values education, we’re easily led astray, even by self-deception,” says Craig. “Biblically speaking, we’re called to test things, and God has given us our minds as a sacred gift. The pursuit of truth is vital. You see a lot of abuse where people do not put truth as a primary focus.”
Culture shock and other challenges
Craig chose to attend Trinity Western because of his parents' recommendation and family connections, but initially experienced culture shock when he arrived. Craig was born a Canadian dual-citizen in London, England, but had lived in East Africa for most of his life. His dad was a pilot with Mission Aviation Fellowship, which resulted in Craig living in Ethiopia until he was 11 and then in Kenya until he graduated high school and came to Canada.
“I encountered the term 'third-culture-kid,' which described some of my feelings of alienation upon returning to Canada. Although I am Canadian, I called Kenya my home for years after moving here. But now I finally consider Canada my own,” says Craig.
There were many challenges for Craig in his first year as a student at Trinity Western, including depression, homesickness, and culture shock. But Craig says that what helped him most was keeping busy by engaging in service opportunities on campus, such as the International Social Justice Club, TWUSA, Mars Hill, Model United Nations, Foreign Affairs Society, English Student Society, Future Teachers Society, and other student leadership opportunities on campus.
“Making these commitments gave me weekly things to look forward to. They kept me out of my bed and out of my room, and also kept the focus off myself,” says Craig.
'Jesus was a dual citizen too'
At Trinity Western, Craig loved being able to learn from specialists and passionate individuals who made themselves available to the student community; yet what gave him most comfort is the notion that as a Christian, he is a citizen of Heaven first and foremost.
“I realized that Jesus was a dual citizen too, and finding that God’s kingdom is in me and around me really helped give me a sense of belonging,” explains Craig.
Passion for teaching
Today, Craig teaches at Maple Ridge Christian School with a focus on the Humanities. His passion for teaching stems from his desire to be a consistent presence in his students' lives. He believes that in a fickle society, it is important for children to have a few trusted adults that they can connect with. He enjoys being able to have conversations with his students about important ideas and watching them develop their thinking skills.
“Trinity helped me to understand that there is a scholarly foundation and credibility for Christian faith,” says Craig. “It helped me to see that Christians have an important place in the education system. It prepared me very well professionally as a teacher. The education program at Trinity is extremely rigorous, and it encouraged me to be reflective in my practice.”
When reflecting on his time at Trinity, Craig adds that all the opportunities for involvement gave him the sense that he could make a difference and showed him the significance of individual contributions.
“And it showed me that people are capable of great things at a young age,” says Craig. Now as a teacher himself, he is thrilled to be able to inspire and guide the next generation and give back to the community that blessed him so much when he was younger.
About TWU's School of Education
Known for its inclusive, inspiring and caring approach to education, preservice teachers are invited into a rich and complex professional conversation. Faculty are engaged with the wider educational community through our investment in advancing educational research and educational practice that nurtures wisdom, compassion and care for all, integral ways of understanding and caring for the world, locally and globally, and transformation of learners and communities. Learn more at TWU's School of Education.
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About Trinity Western University
Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is a global Christian liberal arts university. We are dedicated to equipping students to discover meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. Drawing upon the riches of the Christian tradition, seeking to unite faith and reason through teaching and scholarship, Trinity Western University is a degree-granting research institution offering liberal arts and sciences as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four locations in Canada: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. Learn more at www.twu.ca or follow us on Instagram @trinitywestern, Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Words by Jonathan Fehr ('09) Director of Alumni Engagement and Communications.