I’ve heard it said in various ways, “They have taken God out of the classroom.” I’ve even been asked, “How can you work in a public school when you can’t share your faith with the kids?” I’ve watched teachers walk away from public education with great frustration because of politics, evaluation systems, state standards, pay, and lack of support.
If I am being honest, there are days in which I ask, “Why am I still here?”
Yet, every time I ask myself that question, I hear a soft whisper in my soul… “Because I am here.”
God is in your classroom.
From the depths of my soul, I believe that God has never, can never, and will never be removed from the classroom–even a public school classroom. One, He is bigger than that. Besides the fact that He is omnipresent, He is the “indwelling spirit” that fills you completely. If you are in the classroom, He is there too. And that is why we stay when it is ridiculously tough. The kids that God brings into our classrooms need us– they need Him.
You are His Hands and Feet
“The greatest among you will be your servant.” Matthew 23:11
Don’t think of your inability to freely talk about Jesus as a hindrance; rather, think of it as an opportunity to let every action be seasoned with the love and service of Christ. Jesus was the greatest servant of all time. Let the image of Jesus kneeling down to wash his disciples feet fill your mind for a second. Creator God washed creations’ feet. Dirty, dusty, yucky feet. God humbled himself and served others throughout His entire time on the earth: feeding, healing, encouraging, and raising the dead. As a follower of Christ, He asks us to serve one another humbly in love–to be his hands and feet in the world.
How many shoes have you tied? How many messes have you bent down to help clean? How many kids have you leaned down to hug? How many tears have you wiped away? How many words of encouragement have you spoken? How many hours of your free time have you given up for your kids? Every day, you give all you have for the kids–all for their greater good. When you humble yourself and serve your children–you are being the hands of feet of Jesus in the classroom. And teacher, you do it ALL the time every day.
When you serve and love your students–God is in your classroom.
He is in the actions of your hands. He is in the actions of your feet. You are His hands and feet in the classroom.
That is why you stay.
Jesus Really Loves Children
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
We may not always think highly of the children in our classroom, but Jesus certainly does. He loves them. Deeply. And God help us to think of them highly too. Because when we think highly of them, loving them becomes second nature. When we love our students, we are loving them with the love of God.
Love looks different in every moment, but it is love all the same. Love looks like you responding in patience. Love looks like you expressing joy that your students showed up to school. Love looks like treating the kids with kindness when they deserve your wrath. Love looks like discipline all because you have high expectations for your kids–you believe in them. What?! What would your classroom look like without love!? Your students need your love–they need the One through which your love comes.
When you love your kids, God is in your classroom.
That is why you stay.
May you know that you are not alone; you are partnered with God. Your loving actions, however small they might seem to you, make a difference in the lives of children. The things you do for your students that are as natural and thoughtless as breathing, move the heart of God. Loving and serving people is second nature to you–you are a teacher. Daily, you lay down your life for your students. You are needed. You carry the presence of God. Every day, you humble yourself. You kneel down and serve your students. Your servant-heart does not go unnoticed by the greatest servant of all. He is proud of you. He is with you. He is in your classroom.