Chi Alpha alumnus Jonathan Sixtos graduated Cum Laude from Texas State University-San Marcos in 2012 with a Bachelor of English degree and minor in Psychology. Following graduation, he began his career in Education, becoming an English teacher at Victoria East High School. In 2014, Jonathan earned the distinguished honor of being named a semi-finalist for Texas Teacher of the Year! He shared the experience of receiving the award, and how Chi Alpha helped prepare him to reach the students in his classroom.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
I have always loved how the mind embraces knowledge. I felt that my experience in ministry has prepared me for a career in education, since I see so many strategies that crossover from the congregation to the classroom. My mother had a hand in inspiring me, since I grew up watching her minister the gospel to young children in a way they could understand. God has repeatedly affirmed a calling on my life to be a pastor. I don’t know when that will fully come into fruition, but He continues to favor me in the workplace and refine how I relate to my students and coworkers. I’m so blessed where I am, and His favor continues to open new and exciting doors.
How did Chi Alpha prepare you for the field of teaching?
As a student leader in Chi Alpha, I learned to work with a variety of personalities and to prepare sermon notes for weekly Bible studies. I also enjoyed seeing how the National Chi Alpha organization is structured around a vision to reach young people. Monthly leadership meetings, Discipleship by Design, North Texas Altitude Conferences, South Central Salt Conferences, and all the outreach activities at Texas State were great exercises in servanthood. After graduation, I began teaching a mere two days after The World Missions Summit 3. The conversations and experiences I had with missionaries and laymen alike prepared me to reach out to my students in hopes of educating them in curriculum, and exemplifying the love of Jesus. While I continue to prepare for ministry later in life, I know that am currently ministering in the marketplace, as are many of my fellow Chi Alpha Alumni. What was it like to be named one of the top teachers in Texas?
As a semi-finalist for Texas Teacher of the Year, I got to experience the ceremony in Austin, Texas. Surrounded by so many excellent teachers, I was amazed to hear their stories, and I was inspired by their dedication. It reminded me of the Meals with a Missionary at TWMS3, and I was also reminded of the favor of God, in only my third full year as an educational professional. It all felt undeserved, but again I was reminded of how God often raised up young leaders with uncommon wisdom. I’m thankful for the platform it has provided, and I continue to advocate for the education of our children alongside the strengthening of our families. I have been placed in positions to speak with people of incredible authority and influence. I’m comforted by the Word of God where it says in Luke not to worry about what to say when I am brought before men, because the Holy Spirit will give me the words to say.
What advice would you have for Chi Alpha students who plan on going into the teaching field?
I encourage them to first and foremost prepare their hearts for the career ahead of them. Find a strong church family and stay grounded in the Word, because time will test your resolve. My heart has been heavy laden with the terrible circumstances facing many of my students. Self-harm, broken families, and a culture hostile toward youth are all byproducts of Mankind’s fallen nature. Without the Joy of the Lord to be your strength, you may become discouraged by cranky coworkers, constricting curriculum, or belligerent Boards of Trustees. Enjoy the fellowship with your fellow believers, and maintain contact with your Chi Alpha buddies after graduation. A strong prayer network can lift you up, and your brothers and sisters in Christ are always willing to speak life into your situation. Stay optimistic, keep praying for your kids, and never be ashamed of your faith. You might never lead someone to Christ overseas, but you oversee the next generation of leaders, fathers, and mothers. The reward of this profession is encapsulated in 3 John 4: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth.” To see successful students, and know that you had even a small hand in shaping them, is one of the greatest feelings in the world.