Thank goodness that while there may be legal statutes to separate church and state, there is no ablility of law that can separate faith from state.
Faith can be defined as many things. One translation of scripture states that "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1, KJV)
Hope is the ultimate location of the goals teachers have for their class. Faith is not only the substance of that hope, it is also the series of steps needed to reach that goal. We must have faith not only in the value of the goal but also faith that the steps we take will truly lead us there.
However, the value of faith is not located only in its usefulness. The value of faith also comes from its source. If the source of our faith in in human beings, it is fallible. Humans are both needy and flawed. Faith in humans is the source of the best that some folks hope for. Others of us find faith in something greater than ourselves. We find it in both the fear of and love for God and His Word, the Bible.
In business there was a term, "value added". It meant that if you took a raw material, such as the wool right off of the sheep, it had a certain money value. If, however, you bleached the wool, it would be more useful because it was being prepared for the next step toward some end product, such as a blanket or sweater. Therefore, value was added to the wool because now it was bleached. You could sell it for a higher price. Then there were other steps, such as dying the wool, spinning it into thread, weaving it into cloth, etc. Each step added monetary value to the wool until it was transformed into a final product ready for retail sale.
Our faith is like the "value added". Our personal faith in what we are doing adds all kinds of value to what we are teaching, whether it be subject matter or skill. Our personal faith in why we do it justifies to ourselves and to our students the reasons why things should be learned.
Faith can also include trust in Christ, who is greater than we, so that what we do has eternal value. That value is so fulfilling to us. We can see it in the faces of our "kids", can't we? They feel a love that is beyond our own. They see a wisdom that is greater than ours. They see a faithfulness to our commitments that goes beyond our ability. They probably don't realize that what they are seeing is not simply us, but they are seeing the results of the Holy Spirit within us.
Yes, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1, KJV)