I’m in a privileged position as a teacher of 9 year old students in a christian school. I understand the power of the word, I understand the inquisitive and impressionable minds I have facing me everyday, hanging on my every word.
I often spend hours planning and finding just the right word, bible reference, youtube clip, game, activity that which will inspire and nurture the growing and inquisitive minds before me.
Now please know, that my timetable dictates when and what I teach, so all subjects get their designated quota, Religion, Social and Emotional learning are also explicitly taught.
As a teacher, you carry a reputation around the school and mine is the God one and the hard one!!!! I’d like to think I have a fair but firm approach. I feel joy when I see students who show respect towards one another and the teacher before them. I feel joy when the students take risks and make mistakes in order to learn, I feel joy when they have discipline to do the hard things because there is intrinsic value in it. I feel joy when much progress and improvement are made. All this has carried me through many years of teaching over different schools.
Five weeks ago I started the year off with a group of 26, made up of boys and girls. As an experienced teacher, within a couple of days I had eyed my class out and picked the ones who stood out for different reasons. However, there was one student who stood out amongst all the rest. From the start, he kept calling out, distracting others, he had a serious look on his face, as if to say YEAH!!!! and what can you teach me, I’m pretty smart already and I don’t even have to try very hard?
From the beginning, during Religion lessons, I told the whole class how wonderful they were, that they are all unique and individual, that they all have God given talents, that they’re all uniquely packaged, each with their own special gifts. I told them that Jesus is their best friend, that Jesus would be beside them everyday they asked Him to help them………………… I got stunned silence.
I have told them that their thoughts and feelings show in their expressions and body language, that good thoughts translate into happy faces, faces that are at peace, that their inner beauty shines outwardly, that they have Jesus’ spirit in them and that Jesus’s spirit shines out of them.
Now as a teacher, I repeat words and phrases, I fashion them in different ways so that the students internalise them and make them their own. All the while, faces have been twisting and turning and eyes rolling, as if to say, who believes that??????? I have kept going and if anything, I have tried harder…………. because I know that it’s when I teach Religion and the values found in the gospel of Jesus Christ, that I see things change. Jesus keeps His word. I know Jesus listens and answers prayers.
Well!!!!!!Haven’t the pages turned????
Yesterday, I started seeing their faces change into little smiles almost into approval. I have started seeing students walk with their heads up high. Why you might ask? I know why! They were warming to the friend they have in Jesus. In a short time, I have started seeing a change and I owe it all to Jesus, the one who brings love, friendship, hope, life and joy to any situation.
Oh by the way, the student who stood out the most, the one with his face twisted, the one who knew it all, the skeptical one, I saw him yesterday go to my bible and then ask me how to search the numbers because he wanted to learn for himself, he asked me with a big smile, but my smile was bigger that his.
Praise the Lord! All honour and glory is Yours, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.