“We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. We were not looking for praise from men… I Thessalonians 2:4, 6
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
This is for all the school teachers. It has finally happened: I am writing this while sitting in a teachers’ inservice. As a matter of fact, I am writing this during my fourth new teacher’s inservice. In the ministry, one tends to move a lot, thus throwing me into a lot of these. So now you know: I am by profession a high school English teacher. I am a monster that loves high school teaching. I love chalkboards, especially dry erase boards, the feeling I get when a student actually learns, figuring techniques to teach a concept differently, the 3:00 bell, and mostly…high school kids. There are plenty of days when I wonder why I teach in a public high school and still other days when students like Jennifer Paul tell me, “You make us want to be better people”, reminding me that this is God’s calling on my life. In recent years the general public has been told that test scores and academic achievement is declining steadily. I can testify that in some cases, but most certainly not in all, this is true. This is a source of irritation for me.
Since the solution to all of society’s ills is Jesus, then I am in a difficult position as a public school teacher. I am told that I am “not to promote religious beliefs”. First of all, this is all an oxymoron since America’s educational systems want teachers to be, of course, honest, impartial toward students and a self-esteem builder. And I am to do that without showing that I am a Christian? Should I be less Christian and more worldly? In which area do I need to be more worldly—in honesty, my attitude toward students or in the building of their self-esteems? So, since I need to not show a preference towards any one religion or keep my Christianity a secret, let’s look at some of the attitudes that the world promotes and investigate which ones I should adopt. There’s self-centeredness—that familiar “It’s all about me” attitude, dishonesty if the situation is appropriate, get ahead any way you can, have sex, drink and gamble responsibly, again an oxymoron…which one shall I choose?
Teachers, remember that we need not worry about pleasing man, but about pleasing God. Regardless of what this means or the cost, we need to pray and let God show us ways to tell our students about Jesus. Then, not only will test scores go up, but lives will be changed forever. Now that’s truly being a teacher.
Kathy McBroom 2008