DeeDee Feeney on discipling students, pursuing godly habits, & leaving a legacy
As the longest-standing faculty member at Coram Deo Academy, DeeDee Feeney serves as a fount of wisdom for the community. Her generous heart for young people has proven invaluable to the school. Today, as the new Lead Teacher, DeeDee thrives in guiding the school leadership to better train their students to grow in godliness.
What’s the most important thing you do in a day?
I commit myself to the Lord every day. After that, I always welcome my students and shake their hands as they walk into my class. This sets the tone for the day.
You’ve taught at Coram Deo Academy longer than any other faculty member. What has kept you here?
I have taught at Coram Deo since 2011. That year, I had the joy of starting their full-time Kindergarten program. Previous to Coram Deo, I had never taught at a Classical school, but once I learned what it meant to teach classically, I realized I had always been taught that way. I felt I had finally found my home. Teaching in a Classical Christian School has allowed me to be who God created me to be and to share it with my students. There’s no school like it in this area. It’s very unique.
What stands out to you about this year’s theme of Post Tenebras Lux, “from darkness: light”? How has it affected your teaching this year?
One of my favorite Scripture verses is Matthew 5:16: “Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” I have used this verse, in conjunction with this year’s theme, as a goal in our class this year. I introduced my students to it while teaching them the sense of sight. Just as we need light to see, I challenged my students to shine for Jesus in all they do.
What’s a special activity you share with your students?
Because I teach Kindergarten, I feel I can do so many hands-on activities that make my class unique. For example, we cook together every Friday. I use this time to teach the students how to follow directions, measure ingredients, and keep time so our food does not burn.
We also have a “Kinder Garden” that only our class has the privilege of caring for. Teaching Kindergarten is truly the best.
You focus quite a bit on Habits of the Heart. How do you help students cultivate those habits?
I love helping my students foster the habits of obedience, attention, respect, and responsibility. These are all qualities that will benefit them for life. With that in mind, I teach them that we have to practice to be good at something. In the same way, we need to practice these four qualities until they are habits.
What would you say are some of the unique challenges facing young people and their parents today?
I believe one of the biggest challenges facing young people and parents today is electronics. As a school, we are always competing with electronics. Parents need to put boundaries in place when their children are young so that when they reach the age where they can own a cellphone, the parents have already set the necessary limitations.
You’re a grandmother. What kind of legacy would you like to leave your grandchildren, both educationally and personally?
Educationally, I passed on the love of reading to my daughter, and she continues to pass this on to her children. Personally, I want to leave a legacy of loving the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind. If my grandchildren are walking with the Lord, I could ask for nothing more.