The Joy of The Christian School Teacher
My daughter Natalie attends a Christian school. She's happy there. I hope her teacher is happy, too!
Actually, there are some very good reasons why a Christian school teacher (CST) may, and ought to, rejoice over being one.
The Teacher as Parent
For one thing, there's the happiness of the "parent." The CST serves in loco parentis: "in place of the parent.” The responsibility to educate children does not belong to the state, or to the school itself, or even to the church. It belongs to the parents. Education is not the impartation of supposedly neutral knowledge or skill; it is an intensely religious matter.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.Proverbs 1:7
Thus, God's command to Israelite parents to teach their children the way of the LORD embraced the whole of their education.
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Deuteronomy 6:6, 7
This is not merely a mandate for religious education; it is a mandate for all education. As such it applies equally to believers today.
The CST serves parents in the fulfillment of that responsibility. Consequently, she (I'm thinking of Natalie's teacher) is certainly entitled to share in the joy that results when their children grow like "olive shoots around [the] table" (Psalm 128:3). The CST loves her students like a mother would, and she deserves to receive love from them. She enjoys the oversight, prayer, and support of the homes from which they come.
She can send her children "off to home" with confidence!
The Teacher as Role Model
Then there's the happiness of the role model. The CST is not only permitted, but, even more, expected to disciple her children both by what she says and by how she lives. Her teaching involves far more than mere didactic presentation; it includes modeling in life situations. She integrates theory and practice.
A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.Luke 6:40
True, a heavy responsibility lies upon the CST! She cannot fulfill it by her own power. But if she seeks God and his strength, what she needs will be abundantly given.
That's a happy thought. And this is, too: the CST enjoys complete freedom to lead her students wherever God's revelation leads. As for the special revelation that is God's Word, she may trust entirely that all of God's commands are perfect. As for the general revelation that is God's creation, she may trust entirely that none of God's handiwork will ever contradict his Word.
The Teacher as Counselor
Finally, there is the happiness of the counselor. The CST doesn't discipline merely to keep the noise level in the classroom down to a dull roar. Her desire is that her students "not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but [are] transformed by the renewing of [the] mind" (Romans 12:2). Her goal is that the necessary changes take place in their attitude and behavior – thus testing and approving God's "good" will. She uses verbal admonishment, supported by loving correction – God's "pleasing" will. Her motivation is the glory of God, manifested in the blessedness of her students – God's "perfect" will.
If that doesn't produce happiness, nothing will.
I write as a parent, thankful to God for every CST who has stood in my shoes, shown my kids the way, and gone to the trouble of correcting them when they needed it. I know they haven't done that perfectly. Neither have I. But together we're happy, very happy, that God has given us to his children.
CSTs everywhere: We parents are behind you all the way!