This is a continuation of an article which space prohibited from painting in its entirety. It is excellent and thought provoking.
Students are not machines on an assembly line. Every fall, it is not a new group of “trucks” rolling down the line from fourth to fifth grade. Your job is not just plugging in multiplication and division, loading on grammar and riveting home earth science. Never forget the obvious – these are real people! It is incumbent upon “Christian Teachers” to be sensitive and caring. Christian love to students will make impressions for life and eternity. The Lord Jesus saw the crowd as sheep having no shepherd. However, he did not just teach the 5000 plus crowd; He fed them. A little love makes students “teachable, and they may be drawn to Christ — your model and source of love.
Remember to make time to pray for your students. Problem Students and perfect students need attention at the throne of God. Tune in prayer at home, before the bell rings or at lunch, can make a huge difference in your day. Remember, you are speaking to the master teacher about your educational difficulties. Whether it is lesson planning, class discipline, or motivation of students, nothing is too small to bring to the ultimate Counselor.
Teaching can be a dangerously defiling profession. Beside the hazards of defilement from teacher lounge discussions and student dress and language, new teachers must be wary of other pitfalls. Team teaching is becoming more and more popular. Be careful when and with whom you spend time planning courses and lessons. Also, be selective as to where, when, and how you help students who need extra tutoring. In all your work, go beyond legal requirements to maintain your purity and your blameless reputation.
Mrs. Atwood sat across from me at a parent-teacher conference. We were discussing why her daughter Tanya had poor grades, trouble with the law, a history of drug use and was now pregnant at the age of 17. Mrs. Atwood proceeded to tell me how much it hurt to see the choices her daughter was making.
“We brought Tanya up to make her own choices. We never forced our beliefs on her. We wanted her to decide what was right and wrong for herself when she got older. It just seems so sad to see her making the wrong choices.”
Many children and teenagers are left like Tanya to “figure out what is right for themselves.” Many administrators and teachers feel they should not speak about values either. Every fall, students float into classrooms like ships without maps, radar or radios. They are cruising through life with no guidance. No wonder so many lives in North America end in shipwreck.
Students need you to stand as a moral beacon and buoy. I do not mean you should be on a moral campaign to “Save the Schools.” Instead, you need to live as preserving salt and a guiding light for your students. Speak up about right and wrong whenever you can.
The only way you can guide others is to know what you believe. Moses and Aaron taught with real power. Why? They were first taught by God (Ex 4:12). The Lord Jesus also knew what, when and how to speak, because he first spent time with God (Isa 50:4). The New Testament word to teach is sometimes translated, “to learn”. In other words, before you can be a good lecturer, you need to be a good learner. Before you can instruct, you must be instructed (Deut 4:10).
Problems of the “Christian Teacher”
1. Lack of Results:
Each school year, you spend between 100 and 1400 hours with your students. You try to teach them, model Christianity, witness the gospel to them and pray for them. Apathy, drug use, student dropouts, teen pregnancy and suicide can quickly drain your enthusiasm for teaching.
Thank God, He understands your hurt, anger and frustration. He has felt it too. He taught Israel personally. They flopped morally and spiritually (Jer 32:33). The Lord Jesus taught in Jerusalem. Their lack of responsiveness to his teaching made him weep (Luke 19:47). May it encourage you to know that God understands the challenges and disappointments of teaching like none other.
2. Lack of Time:
Contrary to popular belief, most teachers work the same number of hours each year as the average person in North America only in fewer days. Too many students, stacks of administrative forms, grouchy parents, boring staff meetings and endless extra-curricular activities are only some of the demands teachers face. Christian teachers need to give their best to their lesson plans and student needs, AFTER they have allotted time for assembly meetings and family activities. No teacher should be half-hearted or careless. However, you need to keep your priorities. Saying “no” can be a great challenge for most teachers, especially the good ones.
3. Lack of Discipline:
Many parents are sending their students to school hoping the teacher “can do something with them.” They have poorly disciplined their children, if at all. Educational philosophies vary each year as to the “most effective discipline.”
Control and discipline involve three principles as seen in the Garden of Eden. There must be Clarity in the Explanation of the rules (Established early in the year!). There also must be Consequences for Infractions of the rules. Finally, there must be Consistency in the Implementation of the rules and consequences.
Teaching is not a glamorous or immediately rewarding profession. However, it is of vital importance to families, communities, nations and God. As historian Henry David Armstrong said, “A teacher influences eternity.”