Hopefully all of you have remembered to watch out for school zones and slow down to 20 mph. Those are expensive tickets – and no, I’m not speaking from experience – at least not this year’s experience. (Knock on wood.) I get a twinge this time of year. I have lived my life according to a school schedule. I went to school; I put my husband through school by teaching school; We put our kids in school then we put our kids through school; and I still teach ladies Bible studies that are based on the school calendar. I love the focus of Fall. I love the schedule and I love to teach. I loved teaching second grade, Sunday school, my kids, and now those Bible studies. But today, I am thinking about those who taught me.
Mr. Apple was my fourth grade teacher. Isn’t that a GREAT name for a teacher? We had moved to Alburquerque, New Mexico the winter before and I still felt like the new kid at school. But Mr. Apple liked me and I like him. It was a great year. Then my dad got sick and had to go into the hospital. I knew I was afraid, but I didn’t know what to do with my fears. One day someone said something to me and I started crying. I ran to the girl’s bathroom because I didn’t know what else to do. Mr. Apple sent a girl in to get me and when I came out he was standing there. He asked me what was wrong and I told him. Every day as we lined up to go into the classroom, Mr. Apple asked me about my dad. Soon, the other children started asking too…and I made friends. Mr. Apple cared and he taught other people to care as well. Lesson 1: Great teachers know that the priority is the student, not the lesson. Teach people, not information. It makes all the difference.
In college I took classes from Dr. Elysse Peavy at Houston Baptist University. Dr. Peavy was dramatic and brilliant. Each day she swept into the classroom wearing something with great flair and she never looked at her notes during class. She taught sitting on the edge of her desk with passion and energy. She loved great books and she made me love them as well. I never earned an “A” from Dr. Peavy, she reserved those for people like my husband. (It was REALLY annoying at the time – English was MY major and he got the “A” while I got a “B+.” As you can see I’m over it now.) I knew I would get that “B” but I took Dr. Peavy every chance I got. She didn’t just teach me about great literature, she taught me what it meant to be a great teacher. Lesson 2: Have a passion for what you teach. If you care about it, then there is a better chance the student will have a passion for it as well.
Now i teach Bible. I have a passion for my subject and it is my joy to teach it to the faces that are before me. Every one of those people has a story, a life, a set of joys and a set of sorrows. I know Jesus wants to meet their needs at every point. Not everyone teaches a class, but everyone teaches. Each day you write a new lesson and teach it by the way you care and with the passion you feel for what you are saying.
Today, use the comment section below to thank your favorite teacher. The internet is an amazing highway of information. Who knows who will read this and forward your thanks to him or her. Think about why that teacher mattered to you and then think about how you can be a teacher that matters to someone else. All of us who were born into the Kingdom of God were also given a Kingdom gift for a Kingdom purpose. Who are you called to impact with your life? Who are your students?
Pray that those who teach will understand how important their job is and that they will teach with passion, for their students and for their subject. Andy Rooney once said, “Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who will remember them for the rest of their lives.” Take time to thank one of your teachers, and then think about who it is that God would have you share a life lesson with today. If you will teach people how to know God, they will remember you with gratitude always.