Good morning, sweet friends! I am SO excited to share with you a guest post on a topic that gets me fired up…being a Christian teacher in public education. It is my hope that Amanda's insight will encourage and challenge you.
When Samantha asked me to do a guest post about my experiences teaching I was thrilled. I have never done one before and the content is definitely something that needs to be heard. I prayed hard about what to say and how to share.
First a little background…
I am Amanda and I blog at life.faith.travels.love &food; blogging for me encompasses a lot. I love to write and to scrapbook so it’s somewhat that, but then I figured out that I do have a lot to share about teaching and my faith. I am now in my second year of teaching fifth grade and the school that I teach at is Title 1 [or for non-teachers, inner city- low income & low test scores]. Last year I really had no clue what I was getting myself into and this year my group would be your typical definition of inner city kids.
As Samantha has mentioned many times on her blog, teaching is so much more than being in the classroom. I actually wish my job was thinking of creative ways to deliver the content. Sadly, most days, lesson planning actually gets put on the back burner.
My job title is teacher but my job description cannot be put into so many words. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that most do not even see. There are meetings with other teachers to plan, trainings to make sure we are doing the right thing, testing to prove that we are teaching, paperwork again to prove we are teaching, meeting with parents to develop some sort of relationship (this is hard for me especially because most of the parents at my school hated school or just automatically assume a phone call is bad) so it’s my job to convince them to try to work with me for the benefit of their child. Then there is a lot that the government puts into place where depending on state/county can change, but politics will always be politics and I will just leave it at that.
Even though I just listed a huge list that could be discouraging, the one thing that I really do wish would change in our public school system was the view on Christ. I pray every morning on my way to school and every afternoon on my drive home for my students, the other teachers, and for myself to let God use me as his tool for that day. Instead of being able to teach about God’s love I have to show it.
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity… Titus 2:7
In my experience, with some students, they have never heard [or been shown] how to treat others with kindness and love. God has me going to battle every single day in my classroom without even being allowed to mention Him. I have to break down walls of children who have seen more in their short life than I would have ever thought a child would have to experience. They don’t know any other way and it constantly breaks my heart. I am their confidant when no one else will listen. I have to be strong with some of the stories I hear. I have to hold it together and teach them how to love one another as Christ loved us. I have to love them when all they want is to push me farther away with an attitude you would not believe.
Teaching is so much harder than I thought it would be. Yet, with all that being said I don’t even know if I could do anything else. I know I am where I am supposed to be, with the population I am supposed to be with. [yes, I do have extra paperwork because I am at a title 1 school]. I don’t know if I could teach at a “better” school as some have told me so it would be easier.
God didn’t intend for it to be easy or he wouldn’t have sacrificed his only son for Love.
I know this didn’t make teaching look glamorous and happy as most view it as but I do love it. I love seeing a child grow and learn how to interact with someone they thought they could never get along with. I love that moment when they “get it” and a student knows they have something to be proud of. I love the hugs I receive as I load them on the buses. I love sharing my life with children in hopes that through me they will see the Lord and come to know Him and have a relationship with Him despite the fact that it is “against the rules” in public school.
I believe that I am a teacher for a reason. I know I am good at it. I know I have a lot to learn. I trust that God has a plan for my students.
My respect for Amanda continues to grow more and more as I get to know her heart. Teaching is one of the hardest jobs and I am grateful for how she provided a realistic perspective while still conveying her passion. Be sure to visit her blog and send some encouragement her way!