High School Teacher

photo of dan binder

Dan Binder
D.Min in Educational Leadership, Virginia Theological Seminary, 2016 (expected)
M.Div., YDS, 2008
B.A., History, Columbia University, 2005

If there's one thing I took away from YDS, it was the knowledge that I had more questions than answers about faith, meaning, and purpose.  Sure, I had a set of ideas that worked for me and made sense for me, but I also had the understanding that this set would develop and change over time.   Taking that development and change seriously–being able to ask and re-ask those questions–is what I wanted to do.  Consequently, I wound up teaching religious studies and philosophy at an independent high school, where I make a living by asking and exploring the big questions together with teenagers.  

My YDS education has been indispensably helpful in my teaching.  Certainly, the academic background helps, but what I draw on more is practical theology. I believe that education is and must be rooted in relationship more so than in content, and the pastoral training and experience I gained at YDS help me build and maintain relationships with students and their families.

After several years in the classroom, it makes perfect sense to me that education is one of the few fields that comfortably and commonly uses the language of vocation in its literature.  I love being in the classroom, having a hand in the formation of young people, and seeing the scales drop from adolescent eyes when a new idea brings a new insight. It’s the fullest expression I've found of who I am and who I am called to be.