I walked down the long corridor headed for the classroom. Passing each open doorway, the hallway was filled with learning: counting, reading, singing, a joyous sound of kids involved and focused on grasping new ideas and things to think about. Some were learning to read and others learning to write and still others curious about the solar system or why bugs eat leaves and why oxygen is necessary to life.
I’m not an advocate of testing. It’s been my experience that testing for testing sake destroys and numbs the joys of learning for learning’s sake. I’m more of hands on, dig in the dirt, get muddy and feel the need kind of teacher. Testing, by no means, indicates how smart you are or what you know.
I recently did a Bible study in the book of James and stumbled upon the scripture that says, “We who teach will be judged more strictly.” As a retired teacher and part time substitute teacher I’ve found that to be very true.
Despite the best of circumstances and conditions we are always scrutinized and evaluated. Our beliefs and our influence changes lives and dictates thoughts so they monitor all of us quite diligently. We steer ships, so to speak, so there is little room for error on our part. We don’t teach for the money (there isn’t a lot) or the power of success and riches.
Most of us teach for kids. We love them. We care about their success and hope to give them a fighting chance. In the past years bureaucracy has successfully destroyed and eliminated for teachers, and students alike, the joys and pleasures of learning. Rules should not govern the willingness and ability to learn. “We who teach will be judged…” The scripture also goes on to say, “Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect…” We all fail miserably at some point. We are sinners saved by grace. God sees in us a heart designed for love and learning and change for the better.
We, as educators, should not be teaching kids and telling them what to think but teaching them how to think, how to use and rely on common sense and to show them the process to solve problems, think for themselves and figure it out on their own. They need to know how to balance a checkbook, count out change, fix or change a flat tire and read directions on a bottle of laundry detergent. They need to understand that everything you read may or may not be true and there is a whole other world out there past their phone, video games and television sets. They need to understand the world doesn’t revolve around A, B, or C answers and nothing is just black and white but subtle shades of gray that influence decisions and right choices.
Our students are the hope of the world. Our influence and abilities implement and equip the generations to come. If we are right and on track so be it that we who teach are judged more strictly.
I don’t care about standardized tests and who gets the most money in what school district. I care about kids and I will do all I can do to give them a fair and fighting chance.
God guides and directs we who teach. Despite all the political mumbo jumbo and government bull we who teach, teach because God has work for us to do. Jesus is a teacher. He was judged more strictly.
I, too, will open up the doors of learning so my kids are equipped to face an uncertain future.
Melinda Clements is an E-T community columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.