Weekly Reflection

Underappreciated?

A school teacher once told me that a police officer came to her house asking where she was between 5:00 and 6:00. Her response? “Kindergarten.”

According to author Marlene LeFever, “Becoming an effective teacher is simple. You just prepare and prepare until drops of blood appear on your forehead.”

There are approximately 3.7 million teachers in our American schools. Teaching roughly 51 million students. Did you know that school teachers work an average of 50 hours per week? Or that a mere 18 percent get more than eight hours of sleep? In fact, the vast majority sleep somewhere between five and seven hours each night. Were you aware that public school teachers spent $1.6 billion on classroom supplies? Or that over 90 percent purchase supplies for families who cannot afford them?

According to a survey I read last year, 98 percent of Americans believe a good teacher can change the course of a student’s life. 98 percent! Think of the teacher who shaped you the most. I bet you remember his or her name, what they looked like, their teaching style, and something specific about their class. It’s amazing the lasting effect a memorable educator has on us – even decades later.

To state what should be obvious, teaching is not easy. Whether writing the alphabet on a first grade blackboard or explaining the intricacies of calculus, it takes a special individual (and one who is called) to be a role model and example for so many children (big or small). In no insignificant way, a teacher is a part of a student’s life. It’s a relationship with many layers and a shopping cart of ups and downs.

So here’s my charge to you today: Give your teachers a break. By “your,” I mean your child’s teacher, your community’s teachers, your friend who teaches somewhere else, or anyone who happens to teach. COVID has altered the face of education, and no one is immune from the ripple effects. Parents are frustrated. Students are frustrated. Teachers are frustrated. Administrators are frustrated. IT folks are frustrated. You get the picture.

The Body of our church consists of a variety of parts – each one a valuable contributor. In the same way, our society runs smoothly when all gifts are opened. Teachers need our support. Our appreciation. Our love.

The gifts they offer depend on it.

In Christ’s name,

-Matt

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