As Christians, we know God loves us. At the same time, we are keenly aware of our sins. And, it can feel pretty awful to know we are the type of people who do bad things—even though we want to do good things. This realization can feel even worse for our students who are trying to do the right thing, yet somehow they keep finding themselves in trouble, no matter how hard they try.
Remember learning about Adam and Eve and that first sin in the garden? That one sin was all it took to mess up everything for all of us. (This reminds me of when a handful of kids end up being so naughty that the entire class has to stay inside for recess.) But, God loves us so much that He would not allow sin to keep us from the amazing life He had planned for us. Absolutely not. God made Adam and Eve coverings for their naked bodies, and then He implemented a plan for redemption—a way to make things right again.
Can you see where I am going?
As educators (even those of us in public schools who are unable to preach the gospel with our words), we can mirror God’s love and grace and the hope of redemption through the consequences we give our students. This is a perfect opportunity for educators to be imitators of God just as Paul describes in chapter 5 of Ephesians.
Redemptive consequences, just like the gospel, will not leave students feeling defeated and hopeless. Instead, they can show our students the errors of their ways and how to live life better. That's right. Consequences have the potential to be some of the most caring, hope-filled moments of our day. During these times, we get to be living, breathing examples of God’s love and grace to our students.
And ideally, our students can walk into our classes each day aware that they have a fresh start. They can rest assured that even when they mess up, they are valued deeply. Nothing our students do or say will ever change that.
As time goes on, I'm convinced that a classroom management plan filled with God’s love and grace and the hope of redemption can be the most powerful tool that a teacher can develop. When we design all of our procedures with this in mind (including our consequences) our classrooms will stand out. And, our students will receive a gentle reminder of their identities in Christ without us ever needing to preach one word of the gospel.
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.
Linda’s The Respectful Classroom Workbook will help you wisely implement both consequences and grace to create a classroom where students respect each other—and you.
Christian Educators Members with Coverage receive a 40% discount on all Teach 4 the Heart courses as a benefit of membership. Log in to your membership account at christianeducators.org to access your discount code.
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