Dear Public School Teacher, I want to let you know that there was a time when I struggled with having respect for you. I struggled because I had chosen to allow a few to define the whole. I struggled because I felt I needed to stand against you in order to validate to the world my right and ability to teach my own children at home. I had a hard line drawn and wore glasses shaded in jade because I disliked school myself as a kid and had a few issues with the system with my own children the short time they were there.
Then the Lord placed some teachers in my life that allowed me to see that there were still LOTS of great teachers out there. There were still lots of teachers that loved teaching and loved their students and recognized the influence they had over the lives of those they taught. They also respected my choice and ability to school my own children at home.
The Lord was also doing a work in my heart in many other areas. Through the course of my own life’s circumstances He was teaching me to “relax” about some things that were really just nothing to get fired up about. He was teaching me how to extract and separate the precious out of things and situations that could be considered worthless. He was teaching me the difference between being right and actually being righteous. He was teaching me about mercy, love, and abundant grace.
Then the Lord called me to ministry through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In this ministry I was allowed to have conversations with many of you about your struggles and I had the opportunity to meet many more of you who truly love the kids you teach and just want to see them excel in life. The Lord also used my own struggles of frustration from feeling like I was “beating dead horses” to help me see that you were quite possibly in that similar place, experiencing that similar feeling, and simply needing to be encouraged.
So dear public school teacher, be encouraged! Please know that I am praying for you. I am praying that you will remember why you wanted to become a teacher. Yes, I know many think it might have been for the summer’s off and because you would have the same schedule as your kids… but I know that deep down you had a hope that you would be used to make a huge difference in someone’s life. Summers off and work schedules simply are not enough internal drive to get someone through college. The desire that your life could make a difference in someone’s world, however, is exactly enough.
You see I believe in you. I believe that you have the ability to look past a child’s behavior and see the heart and the hurt behind the actions. I believe that you are making impact in the hearts and minds of the kids you teach that far supersede their ability to conjugate and calculate. I believe that you have placed before you an opportunity to change a kid’s life and the life of their children and their children’s children. I believe in you and I am praying for you.
I am praying that you remember that you are the “grown up”.
In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:34-36)
I am praying that you remember who you were when you were their age and how thankful you are for those who chose to teach you and lead you instead of condemn you and I pray you choose to be like them.
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:15-17)
so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” 7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:6-8)
I pray that you remember that you are called to a higher purpose than leading kids to higher education. You are called to lead them to the Most High.
35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:35-36)
I pray that you remember that today might be the last day in that child’s life. Today might be the only chance that you get to show them that there is a hope and a future in Christ.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. (James 4:13-14)
While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.” These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. (John 12:36)
I pray that you remember the big picture. I am praying that you remember who you are because of Whose you are…
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father… 23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. (Colossians 3:12-17, 23-24)
I pray that you are not swayed from expecting excellence from your students. Raise the bar and demand they reach it. I pray that you won’t allow mediocrity in your class but will command they rise to their very best by showing them how through your own example.
I pray that you will surround yourself with teachers that have a vision for more and you will not be drug down by naysayers or doomsdayers. I pray that when others talk down students you will choose to talk them up. I pray that when labels are placed on kids you will tear them off.
I pray that you will choose to find a group of teachers in your school that are willing to see your school for what it really is… a battlefield and a mission field. You are a warrior for the Light in the midst of the kingdom of darkness and these kids eternity is at stake. You need to gather your army and you need to prepare for battle so that you may wield your sword with efficiency, accuracy, and purpose. I pray that you will not fight alone. Seek out your fellow soldiers and prepare your hearts together. There is power in your prayers and your study of His Word, use it.
I believe in you… and I am praying for you. This is a new day and new year with new students. Today is a new beginning… and I am praying that when “today” grows tired and the last days are in sight that you will still remember today.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)