The Calling to Become a Teacher
When asked to write a feature article regarding what is the importance of well-trained teachers, my first response was “it’s a feeling from your heart that is impossible to put into words.”
Listen to any podcast or interview with a successful business owner, computer programmer, pro athlete; they always mention a transformative teacher or mentor who believed in them when no one else did—someone who had faith when they felt at their lowest, an ally when their back was against the wall, someone who walked with them in their deepest valley. I am left with the thought of the longevity of this answer. Will this be the same answer that is given twenty years from now? Are we investing in the next generation of Christians like we are called to?
The Similarities Between Doctors and Teachers
If one does any research on the history of education (or listen to the latest TED talk) and one will quickly see that education is always changing. Change isn’t a bad thing, in fact change is inevitable. I personally, wouldn’t choose to go to a doctor that has been using the same medical practices year after year. I want to go to a doctor who makes his/her philosophies known, who uses the latest technology, takes time to hear me, and uses the best practices for MY needs. The same goes for education. The same question can be asked, what is the importance of having a well-trained doctor? Why does the doctor’s answer seem so clear and the answer for a well-trained educator is so complicated?
In my career, I have worn many hats in different districts and schools. I have worked in private, public, collegiate and charter, witnessing what is working in education and what clearly needs to be changed. Through all of the years, I have never seen a teacher or educator that isn’t invested in the lives of their students. Educators literally sit with the future generation in front of them every day. We are the voice of our students when no one else is listening. We wipe away tears, give meals, spend the little money we have on any need our students may have, and of course give out the “cure all” band aids and ice packs. As teachers, we are there to make students work harder than they ever thought they could. We walk alongside parents to help them assist spiritual, emotional, and mental growth. We are there to pour all we know about the Bible and God’s pure everlasting glory into these students and families. Making mistakes, growing and getting messy needs to be supported and cultivated by teachers, parents and mentors to this next generation.
Evidence-Based Practices and Passionate Teaching
Of course, in education you need evidence-based practices, scientific research, neurological research, Jim Collins, Maria Montessori, B.F. Skinner, Jim Faye, Ivan Pavlov, Richard Dufour, data-driven discussions, correct response to intervention, formative assessments, trauma informed practices (the list goes on) but at the forefront of all of this research is someone that is passionate and following his/her calling regarding what is best for the next generation of learners.
Teachers truly pour their heart and soul into students of any age. When you wake and when you sleep, the students are always on your mind. As an educator you wonder if and what they will remember. Will they look back and think of the good times in the classroom or the times that you messed up the most well-planned lesson? The truth is, they won’t remember any of that. They will remember (and scientific studies have proven) the way they felt when they were in your presence. Were you present? Were you counting down the moments or truly making your small moment in time with them count? Did you teach them about Jesus and His truly everlasting, unconditional love? That is all that matters.
The Bigger Question: Remembering Our Own Influential Mentors
So, to answer the question of what is the importance of well-trained teachers? One doesn’t need to look far. The bigger question becomes—Do you remember a teacher or mentor in your life? Who taught you about Jesus? We are called to be Christ’s hands and feet. We are called to pour our souls into these children. Biblically the answer is clear.
This is not a career that one gets into for recognition—any recognition comes in the form of tears and hugs from little ones. This is a career that pays minimally—unless of course your bills can be paid with handwritten notes from your students. There will never be an award ceremony in which you are recognized for your late-night efforts, just high school and college graduation announcements that surprisingly come in the mail one day. At that moment you will know that you have been a good and faithful servant to your students and their families.
The importance of well-trained teachers? It’s a calling. I can from the bottom of my heart say public, private, charter, administrative, in the classroom, as a parent—this job never gets easier and it truly never ends. The pay will never be monetary but it is a noble calling that is not taken lightly. There will be days you question God’s plan for you and the path that your struggling students are walking. The answer will always come back to Christ and his plan for this next generation of Kingdom Thinking students. Are you listening to your calling?