Hanna de Jong-Markus

How Cohesion Matters 4 77 Teachers recognized the norms and values at the school in which they worked. When they spoke about sharing their opinions in the classroom, this included, for example, issues about sexual diversity and swearing. It is striking that teachers frequently used formulations in which they contrasted their own school with more conservative or more liberalOPPSs. ThedifferencesbetweenOPPSs thatmattered to teacherswere, for example, dress codes and how the school dealt with the diversity of church denominations. Even within one school, teachers designated differences regarding positions on these themes. Teachers said, for instance, that they were more attached to certain colleagues than to others because of shared opinions on Bible teachings. A few teachers talked about “safety” when they explained why they work at an OPPS. They viewed a place where they can be themselves as a safe place. Some teachers also said that they believe a safe place to be important because there they can develop their professionalism and faith. This development was sometimes defined as a precondition when referring to whether they would ever work at a mainline Protestant or public school. Interest 3: Cohesion between children’s educational environments The third interest was that the religious climates of the child’s various educational environments need to correspond. This was stated as an essential part of their views on good education that they seek to realize and that OPPSs promote. Teachers frequently mentioned this cohesion, particularly the cohesion among school, family, and church and the cohesion between the teacher in one year and the teacher in another school year. Henk’s statement reflects this: “It is very good that there is recognition and interconnectedness within the three worlds where a child spends a lot of time; … that makes the Christian faith a known stimulus.” As with other teachers, Henk gives a religious basis for his preference, namely, socializing in the Christian faith. This is also expressed when teachers refer to the baptismal promises of parents, as with Jan who explained, “If one said ‘yes’ to what God asked him to do, one has to do it. So one has to seek a school where one’s children will be raised with the Christian faith.” However, pedagogically orientated grounds were given as well. Nora, for example, explained that, when family, school, and church are familiar, she as a teacher knows the backgrounds of the pupils herself, allowing her to anticipate and fit best with her pupils. Another aspect which was mentioned, is the large amount of time that children spend at schools, which makes it relevant to pay attention to cohesion. We will come back to these religious and pedagogical explanations later in this section.