Monday, September 14, 2015

teaching with grace

Well my friends, it is September. I don't know how it got here, but it did and it is here. Whattt??? Speaking of time flying, this is my sixth year teaching. It does not seem real or plausible that I could have five years of teaching under my belt, but alas, the numbers do not lie. Simple math, friends, simple math.

When I graduated from the University of Georgia on May 8, 2010, I had not a clue what the next five years would hold for me. I had no idea the myriad ways my heart would be tugged and pierced for the lives of so many students I would encounter. At twenty-two years old, I was excited to be embarking on a new adventure, ready to take on the world in spite of immense fear that was always lurking in the corner, waiting to devour me whole.

I remember feeling so very inadequate my first few days, weeks, and months of teaching. Truth is, I still feel that way. No one can ever truly prepare you for the immense responsibility you feel when you realize the privilege God has given you in caring for and contributing to the character of young souls day in and day out. It is actually quite terrifying when you realize the gravity of the responsibility placed upon you. When I think about the powerful influence teachers had in my life, I realize that the things I say and do are having an impact that will reach far into these little ones' psyches and identities. Through my educational career, I was blessed with some incredible teachers. Heck, I'm even friends with some of them on Facebook today. So many of my teachers contributed to the teacher that I am today by inspiring me to love on and attempt to make a difference in the lives of my babies each day.

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Teaching is not just for those who want to make a difference, though. The profession is demanding, and the calling is unmistakable. They say that to teach is to touch a life. Well, friends, we can touch others' lives in negative and positive ways. The impact of our words, be it as a teacher, friend, or parent, is far-reaching and is something for which we will be held accountable (ouch).

James 3:1-2 states: Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

Here's the thing: everyone is a teacher to someone. Whether you are a college girl that has high school girls looking up to her, dreaming of the day they'll be in your shoes, or you are the business woman on the top with wisdom to offer to the rookies, we're all teaching someone. Someone is always watching us, whether we like it or not. And with that realization, we can choose a better way to live-with a whole lot of grace-because we all needed help to get to where we're at now. 

Teaching requires grace every minute of the day, just like we need grace every minute of the day. It requires an understanding that these little ones that we have been chosen to shepherd are just that-little. They are human beings with thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams. They have sin issues just like us adults, and they have unmet needs, too. Oftentimes, they come to school with a whole book bag's  worth full of problems and frustrations from home situations over which we have no control that then influence their day for better or worse. As educators, we can choose get frustrated when things don't go our way, or we can cry out for more grace, determined to heap it upon them because we know we need it desperately ourselves. 

I know that when I take a minute to ask the Lord to show me the big picture, He reveals to me that school, albeit a big part of these kids lives, is still only a fraction of the pie. They have families, sports teams, and churches. Their lives are complicated and full, just like ours. And when I pause to remember that, He fills me with the grace needed to not only "get through" each day, but to enjoy it and see glimpses of His face in the most mundane of moments. 




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