the heart of a teacher

teacherMany years ago, God put into me the heart of a teacher. Before leaving high school, it was already set and God in his rich blessing granted me a scholarship that completely paid for my four-year degree. Twenty-four years later, I still love it! Yes, the stress level can get high, the demands of the profession seem to grow exponentially, the paperwork NEVER ends, I work with many students who lack the love and discipline they deserve at home which translates into misbehaviors in my class, and I come across a few parents out of touch with reality… but the kids I LOVE! Through the years I’ve come to see the most unruly child as the one most desperate for love and attention. Even spoiled child who can get on my last nerve was made that way by overindulgent parents so I put on my best smile and do my best to help mold him/her into a better person. Some need more help than I can give but I still try…

When Moses was getting things organized to begin constructing the Tabernacle, he said-

“See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel… and filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- to make artistic designs… And he has given both him and Oholiab… the ability to teach others.” Exodus 35: 30-32, 34

Bezalel was gifted by the Holy Spirit to work in artistic crafts and to teach. Some narrow gifts to preaching and such but here we see the gifts reach much broader. God blessed these men with the skills needed to design the Tabernacle as he instructed and gave them the ability to teach others how to do the same work.

I love mathematics… always have. I’m fascinated by its logic and yes, its beauty. Even in the highest levels of math in college, I excelled and was captivated. Bezalel was blessed with artistic skills… I am blessed with mathematical ones. I too was given the ability by God to teach and have enjoyed 24 years of success.

Just as in Bezalel’s case, my gifts and skills have been given not for my glory but for His. God wanted the Tabernacle so that generations to come would have a place to pray and worship so he set the skills and abilities in those men and women to do the work. God desires the hearts of the students that cross my classroom door so he has given me skills with mathematics and the ability to teach so that I can be his missionary in my school. And, yes, I am a public school teacher so no, I don’t preach the gospel in words… I live it before them with every loving word, encouraging pat, and the often needed in-your-face guidance to be honest, treat others with respect, and to do their best. As I blogged about yesterday, time spent with God creates a radiance in and on us that causes others to see God in our actions without ever having to ‘preach’ in words.

Today ends National Teacher Appreciation week and I must say I’ve been blessed with several amazing teachers who have greatly impacted my life… I’ll never forget Dr. Richard Davitt from U of L or my high school teacher turned mentor turned peer Janice Gillaspie… plus many others. One of my goals as a teacher has been to teach, love and encourage my students as they did me!

Many wonderful teachers also come to mind that played important roles in the lives of my children. Thank you, ladies & gentlemen, for loving my children even when they were loud, unruly, and so less than perfect! Thank you for helping to mold them into the woman and men they are today.

Most especially, I thank you, Lord, for placing the calling of ‘teacher’ into the hearts of men and women for teaching is certainly a calling. A calling where the lower pay comparatively for the education level required, the lack of respect given by some students and parents, and the ever-rising stress levels are all washed away in the smile of a child when the light bulb comes on, when students turns back to say ‘thank you, and when I see a student mature in their ability to make sound, moral decisions. So thank you, Lord, for giving me and others the heart of a teacher. Amen.

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