This week is Teacher Appreciation Week…I thought I would pause to say thank you to the teachers and educators in our midst.
I have noticed that more than ever before, there seems to be a deeper appreciation for the teachers and educators in our lives. Even now, in the midst of a pandemic, teachers and educators are working faithfully and diligently to connect with and teach their students in new ways, trying to brainstorm creative ways to keep students focused and engaged, impacting the students’ lives in ways in which they will probably never even know about.
It’s funny how we remember names of our teachers, isn’t it? Do you remember your teachers’ names, how did they impact your life? Have you been able to say thank you? (I just went through the names of every teacher I had in elementary, middle and high school).
Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking back over the teachers in my life that I have held a great respect and appreciation for, and who were influential in shaping the trajectory of my path into ministry.
My high school Bible Teacher being one. Miss Post was a really good teacher and while firm with her students, she also saw potential in her students. I recall being in my junior year in high school, with no plans of ever attending college, when one day she pulled me aside in the hallway, looked me in the eye and said “Later this week, there is going to be a drama team from a small Bible college coming to lead chapel, I think you really should pay attention to them and talk to them while they’re here.”
So, of course I did…one thing led to another, and suddenly a year later, I was a senior with plans to attend that very same Bible College! I often wonder what would have happened in my life, and where I would be today had she not stopped me in the hallway, had not encouraged me to explore college!
I often wonder whatever happened to her and wish I would have been able to go back and say thank you to her. To say thank you for seeing me, pulling me aside and encouraging me to think beyond the bounds of what my plans were. I wonder if she ever realized the impact her teaching, words and encouragement would have. I do believe it was because of her and a several additional teachers in my life, that they were foundational and transformational in my life as God was preparing me for ministry. From Ms. Bouma my Kindergarten teacher, the speech therapist in elementary school, to Miss Post in high school to Dr. Dennis in Seminary and everyone in between and beyond, I have been blessed with so many teachers who all have played a part in shaping my life and who I am today. And this doesn’t even mention the teachers and leaders in my life connected with growing up in the church.
I share these thoughts with you, simply to say, that whether you are a retired teacher or tired teacher, thank you. To let you know that you have made and are making a profound impact on the lives of your students each and every day! They truly do appreciate you, they just might now know how to say it or show their appreciation because it’s sometimes just not cool to say so. Be encouraged and assured that you are truly making a difference as you plant seeds of hope, life and growth in the lives of your students! You might not realize it now, but know and trust that there will be more teachers who will come along and nurture the seeds planted that will allow your students to grow, discover and live into their God-given gifts and do great things!
In 1 Corinthians 3:6-15, the Apostle Paul writes:
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.”
I realize that for many of us, going back to say thank you to some of our teachers from early childhood might not be possible. So maybe, we can whisper of prayer of thanksgiving for them, their lives, and their willingness to teach and bless us.
Maybe some of us aren’t able to go back and say thank you to every teacher we had, but we can say thank you to the teachers now who are teaching. As this week wraps up, offer a prayer of blessing for the teachers this year: Nursery School, Elementary, Middle, High School, College, Graduate, and Church Sunday School.
Send a note of thanks to the teachers and educators you know … let them know how they are making a difference and that they are prayed for. If you are able to track down teachers you have had, send them a note to let them know how they impacted your life and were a blessing to you.
To the teachers and educators, thank you. you are a gift and a blessing … you are prayed for and I am truly thankful to God for you and the way in which you are living into your call each and every day.
May the grace and peace of Christ be with you today and always…