As teachers, we desire to create classrooms where students have fun and also feel enriched, challenged, and encouraged. We want to share our passions about literature, history, music, art, math, languages, and other subject areas. We spend hours mastering new tech skills, honing our own expertise in pedagogy and knowledge, and making sure we are up to date on all the latest educational trends.
All of these things are exceptional. They are admirable. They are important parts of a well-rounded education, and they all sound like part of a schooling experience I would want for my own children. But, consider this quote I recently saw on social media. It is a unique paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:
“If I teach with the best strategies, integrate the latest technology, and attend the best professional development, but I do not show love towards my students, I have gained nothing.”
Wow. I think that statement makes our purpose as teachers so incredibly clear. All of our educating, integrating, and developing needs to be done with love as the centerpiece. Our students need our love. Representing Christ here on earth with tangible love to our students, while educating them, is our purpose.
Love is how we know we belong to Christ.
Love makes us worthy of the calling we have received.
Love is what turned us sinful people into redeemed people.
Love is what gives us hope for eternity.
Yes. Love is our purpose. And I am so thankful that God has given us such practical advice like 1 Corinthians 13 on how to be purposeful in our teaching.
A purposeful teacher is patient and kind—even when our students have misbehaved all week long. Praise God, He understands and is there for us.
A purposeful teacher gives students a fresh chance every single day—because there is value in not keeping records of wrong. Praise God, we have a deep understanding of grace and forgiveness.
A purposeful teacher is not self-seeking—even when we have so many reasons to demand our own way. Praise God, Jesus is the perfect example of sacrificial love.
A purposeful teacher never gives up on a student—even when every other teacher seems to have given up on that student. Praise God, He has never given up on us either.
A purposeful teacher sees others as God sees them—finding hope in every situation, identifying something workable with every parent, and discovering something praiseworthy about every child. Praise God, He helps us see through His eyes.
And, of course, a purposeful teacher realizes that our strength to live out this purpose comes from the Lord, and not us.
Our purpose as educators is, of course, to educate. But, as Christian educators, our purpose becomes even richer and more powerful. Our purpose is to educate while demonstrating and reflecting the love of Christ. It is a high calling. It is a hard calling. But, it is our purpose indeed.
Linda Kardamis taught middle school math before founding Teach 4 the Heart. She is the author of Create Your Dream Classroom and Take Heart and Teach and the creator of Classroom Management 101. She and her husband are raising their four kids in Northeast Ohio.
The Teach 4 the Heart podcast provides ideas and inspiration to help you overcome your teaching challenges and make a lasting difference in your students’ hearts and lives. Listen for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or at www.teach4theheart.com/podcast.
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