It’s a tradition with this blog to post an encouraging piece at the beginning of the term. For those of us who teach in Korea and Asia, our school year begins this week. This post is for all the teachers who have been diligently teaching for years and also for all the new teachers who just arrived. Know that this is a platform to find encouragement, food for thought, and a place to connect.
Teacher, Your Work Matters
It is the middle of the term and you are exhausted. Piles of grading. Irate parents. Disrespectful, disinterested students. Constant testing and unreasonable requirements. These, and many more things, conspire against teachers and try to bring us down. To discourage us. To make us wonder if we are wasting our time.
And today I want to offer you a small word of encouragement. – You are NOT wasting your time. What you’re doing DOES matter. Your labor is not in vain. You are making a difference.
There are those who will be thankful even though they don’t say it directly to your face. There are students in your class who will look back on this year and be thankful for your influence. They may even be the one causing you the most trouble.
I know that you know that growth takes time and the seeds you are planting in young hearts and minds will grow and bring forth fruit, even if you might not see it yet.
You, dear teacher, are making a difference. There are students who care. There are students who are grateful. There are students who are grateful. There are those who are learning. There are those who are growing. Even if they never tell you.
I was going to tell you all of this until I realized that all of these things pale in comparison to one very important fact.
God sees you and what you are doing. God sees your effort, your time, your work, your labor. He sees you and the reality is He is the only one that truly matters.
God sees the long hours of lesson planning and the shed tears of frustration over students not understanding. He knows your biggest frustrations and your deepest hurts.
He doesn’t overlook you. And He doesn’t take you for granted.
A lot of thoughtful effort goes into into doing our best for our students. We work on being the best teacher possible for their sake. And while we should emphasize the kids’ needs above our own, there is someone else that we should be serving above all else: our God.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Col 3:23-24)
This powerful verse reminds us that we are working for an audience of one: Christ Jesus our Lord.
He is there watching everything. When no one else seems to notice, He sees.
When everyone else you work with does not seem to care, He cares.
When our words seem to be falling flat, He sees our effort and is pleased with our faithfulness.
If we’re doing it all for Him.
So today, in the midst of the busyness, the frustration, the chaos – take a moment and remember the real reason that you are teaching. It shouldn’t be for the praise. It shouldn’t be for the satisfaction. It shouldn’t even be for the kids.
It’s good and right for us to remember the real reason we are teaching. It’s for God.
And if we keep our focus on Him, it doesn’t matter as much what’s happening around us.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (I Cor 15:58)
So don’t give up. Don’t quit.
Be encouraged in the Lord.
Keep making a difference.