Blessings I Enjoy Today from my School Teaching Experience

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God has many ways of preparing people for life. My school teaching experiences as a young man helped to prepare me for life and, in many ways, has shaped who I am today. Maybe God hasn’t and won’t ever call you to be a teacher, but I am sure that if you follow Him, He will lead you and bring experiences into your life to mold you into the person He wants you to be. Someone could just as easily be writing about the blessings they are receiving by following God in another vocation. That being said, we need teachers, and I’ll share my experience with you to illustrate some of the lifelong blessings of being a teacher.
Probably the broadest area of blessing is simply that of personal development. As a teacher, I became more fluent in the academic material I was supposed to have learned as a student. English grammar became my favorite subject to teach, and I use it today to help me understand what some of the long, complex sentences in the Bible mean. I have always enjoyed science, and having a better grasp of the laws of the physical creation deepens my awe of the Creator. The formulas and computations of algebra have no doubt aided me in writing formulas in some of the spreadsheets that I use in my work today. Social studies gave me an overview of human nature and remind me that all men have an end. It also shows me the story of God working out His will with mankind from creation until now.
Teaching provided the opportunity for many life experiences that I look back to today as foundational in the lessons God is still teaching me. I remember realizing when the police officer stopped me that if I want my students to submit to my authority, then I need to submit to the authorities in my life. I remember when we played “piggy-wants-a-motion” we would fake which direction the “it” person was coming from to make the others run into them and get caught until we came across the verse in Proverbs that talks about “He that deceived his neighbor and saith am I not in sport.” I remember receiving a handmade card from a student simply to wish me a “Happy Thursday” and understanding how meaningful a few simple words of encouragement can be. I remember grasping the fact that even the music I listen to is affecting my influence on these students. No man is an island. I recall those times calling out to God in frustration for patience and grace to deal with that difficult child who seemed to be unreachable. I look back at the many decisions I made as a teacher. Some of them worked, and some of them didn’t work. We all make mistakes, but hopefully not twice.
Teaching is a service. I know we could go into a lengthy debate on whether teaching should be viewed as a voluntary service or a career to be pursued. And I’m sure we could make many valid points on both sides of the subject. However, regardless of a teacher’s salary, we must understand that teaching is a service. My experience has taught me that nothing, or at the very most, little of what I do for myself has any lasting value. It is what I do by placing others ahead of myself that translates into real worth in the end. Matthew 10:39, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Receiving a salary that was less than average was actually beneficial in teaching me this principle. I am still learning that God wants us to keep our focus on serving others and not focus on making enough to buy the next farm.
Another huge blessing is the joy of seeing young people that I poured hours and days of my life into, choosing to serve God. Third John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” Today some of my former students have homes of their own. They have begun raising families in the church. Some of them have become teachers themselves. And now my own sons are being taught by one of my former students.
The last and most important blessing that I enjoy today as it relates to my life as a teacher is that I have peace that I am where God wants me to be. I remember very clearly as a youth wrestling with finding God’s will for my life. What does He want me to do with my life? Being a teacher was not my childhood dream. But through the influence of a high school teacher and encouragement from some friends, God slowly led me into the classroom. I taught for four years, and then God led me to marriage. After a year out of the classroom, He called my new wife and me to leave my home area and move 3 hours away to a town I had never been to, to teach and be principal of a small but growing school. It was there that after another four years of teaching that I was ordained deacon to help establish a church in Cumberland, Maryland, where I am today. I have always believed that God has a specific will for each of our lives. As I look back at His leading in my life, that belief is solidified.
Today I am thankful for the years of my life spent in the classroom. And from my experience, I have learned that if you are faithfully serving where God has called you today, He will be faithful in meeting your needs. And guide you through the uncertainty of the future. 1 Thessalonians 5:24, Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.