I have a student in my class this year. Among my co-workers, I lovingly call her my “little mama.” She keeps our class in line, she is always helping, and she even makes sure I am on task at times. She is great.
The other day she told me that she wanted to be a teacher just like me because it seemed like the “funnest job ever!” As she told me this, I was thinking in my head, it is also one of the most impossible jobs you can ever do.
One hour later, she was working in a center with a very challenging student I have. She came up to my teacher table and interrupted my group, which she never does.
“Ughh!! HE won’t listen to me! I have tried to help him 4 times and he just doesn’t listen!! He doesn’t get it. I am so frustrated. Maybe I shouldn’t be a teacher.”
I said, “I know, it’s hard, but don’t let it stop you.”
She said; ” I don’t know how you do it every day.”
I sat and though about that little exchange later, and can remember times even this week, where that thought has entered my mind. Satan gets into my thoughts and tells me things like, “You will never get through to him,” “They can’t learn,” “They did bad on that assignment because you didn’t do your job.” I look at other teachers and think ” I wish I was together,” Every time, my students mess up, I internalize and ponder what I can do to motivate them towards the right things.
Those little lies creep in and for a second I believe that it’s not worth it to teach. That the long hours, tears, training, meetings, book studies, lesson plans, and money out of my pocket aren’t worth the sacrifice.
Then, I remember that Jesus calls us to more than what seems easy or convenient. He calls us to die to ourselves and our ways of life. Could it be that my life as a teacher really isn’t dependent on my own abilities and strength? That when I place Jesus at the center of my career, that he will guide me and lead me? WIll he not refresh me in times when I burn out? Will he not provide for me?
You see I try to disguise this ” I don’t feel like a great teacher ” stuff. Really, I am doubting God’s ability to work through my career.
The truth is, whether it says it in my title or not, I am an ambassador for Christ. I am in a room 8 hours a day with students who need to experience God’s love. 10 of my 15 students are ESL. All of them come from not-so – ideal home environments. They need to know they are loved and that Jesus loves them more than anyone on Earth ever could. I have a front row seat to impacting our next generation. Instead of obsessing over being that perfectly, put together teacher, I should be concerned with living my life in front of my students in a way that glorifies God.
I am challenging myself to do that. To fix my eyes on the unseen. To build relationships. To be an example to my co-workers and students.
I am not sure how long God will have me in this season of teaching. I realized that I need to get over myself, and make my time count.
I need to choose joy, over comparing my class to others.
I need to celebrate the wins and not dwell on the losses
I need to correct, but not condemn.
I need to learn to love without growing tired of the task.
Today could have easily been a high stress day. A computer program didn’t work, the kids grew restless during our assessments, there were several “little conflicts” to stop. I even had one kid lose his Friday ice cream truck privilege from the principal and throw an all our fit in the office(we are talking screaming, crying, kicking, threatening,) I almost let those things defeat me.
Instead I remembered Philippians 4:8, and I started thinking about the praiseworthy things.
Over half my kids making 100 on their test!
One of my lower students going from a 44 to perfect score in reading, making perfect score on Math, and remembering her spelling words. (The look on her face was so precious.)
The fact that it was “Fancy Nancy Friday,” and my kids love story time on Fridays.
It was ice cream day and we had a blast.
Someone read their first sentence
My non-English speaker is understanding enough to recall what she has been learning!
We were able to do Just Dance at the end of the day
I was able to find a positive in each child.
Those are the things that push me forward through frustration. Through Common Core, red tape, and statistics. Through worrying about the homes my kids go to, and if they know they are safe.
Knowing that I let God use me today. Knowing I tried to make today great. Having students like “little mama.”
These things are worth any time, money, or stress I expend.
My verse taped to my desk for this class is Galatians 6:9.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
Encouraging you all to not give up in the good you are doing for His kingdom.