What My Students Teach Me

tawThis week has been Teacher appreciation week. Which, of course, brings with it many notes and letters from our students. As a person whose love language is words of encouragement, it is truly one of my favorite times of the year. These letters inspire and encourage me, but they also teach me.

Though unintentionally, my students teach me so many lessons about life that in my 20s, I’m still trying to learn

First, my students make it clearly evident that everyone’s not going to like you! After testing, I assign my students the relaxing task of writing letters to their favorite teacher. And guess what…? Every single student writes a letter to me! Yeah…No. As much as I would love that to happen, that’s just not reality. Before I send their letters off to their teachers, I have to read them to make sure they’re appropriate. My students have wonderful reasons why they love their other teachers. My kiddos aren’t writing these letters to rub it in my face about all the things I’m not (Though some students do write out of spite because I may have recently made them upset); it’s just the truth about how they’re feeling .

The truth is, people connect with others for all sorts of reasons you may never understand. One kid gets mad because I’m strict on dress code. Another kid loves me because I don’t let class get loud. Each teacher has a different style and personality, and each student has their own set of biases that makes them favor one teacher over the other.

1 Corinthians 12:14-20– For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I work with some amazing teachers who I can learn so much from! But the goal is not to be just like them. So what do you do when your pile of student letters aren’t as high as the teacher across the room? Be grateful that God didn’t make all teachers alike! My God, imagine if you had to go to the same teacher for an hour and a half each period all day! There are things about you that no other teacher possesses. And that’s a GOOD thing! Appreciate that in yourself and in other teachers. And where there are true qualities in another teacher worth emulating, then watch them, ask questions, and grow.

We all have times we feel we don’t measure up. And don’t lie…yours may not be as frequent as others, but it’s there. Especially as a teacher, we feel we hold our students entire futures in our hands. We feel we may be that bad teacher that “statistics show” can cause a student to fall years behind in their education. We don’t want to be the reason they’re no longer interested in school.

We want to be the one who inspires them!

The reason they enjoy coming to school or class!

We want to be the teacher they remember and tell their kids about.

The teach who, when they become famous, they mention to reporters about how much of an impact we had on their lives! #justsaying …ok back to reality…

If your goal is to teach your kids and you do the best you can, there’s no need to worry about how many students love your or don’t. You’re only human. Some of the reasons students dislike you will have absolutely NOTHING to do with you! It’s not personal. Realize it’s not just students. It’s everyone. It’s life. People will either like you or not. You have no control over that. Learn who you are and know who you’re not. And feel free to not..be..perfect. There’s grace there.

James 4:6– But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

So what about you? What have your students taught you? I’d love to know!


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