I never knew I would be a teacher. I started out as an engineer, and then when I had babies I feel IN LOVE with them and wanted to stay home. During the seven years I spent there, my older son struggled in school and needed more special attention, so I homeschooled for a couple years. My passion for my children naturally spilled over to their education, and our best times together were spent discovering new things. When it was time to go back to work, I found out that my love for kids had spilled over onto OTHER PEOPLE’s kids. Teaching was the ultimate avenue to follow Christ -loving on children through patient instruction and vibrant interactions.
A typical day starts with my own children and get them ready (well… THEY help ME these days) and all of us are on the way to school together… an ultimate dream come true. I need time in the morning in my classroom to organize my thoughts and refresh my memory for the lesson plan of the day [always preplanned]. There is a HECTIC day full of silliness, laughter, challenges of all sorts, deliberate prayer that God would teach my students Himself and take control of my classroom, and the miracles of “Oooooh!” and “I get it!” all day long. Honestly it requires supreme patience and perceiving that every interruption is an opportunity. After the school day there is copying and preparing materials for the following day, home to take care of my sons and their homework, dinner / baths / etc., and then settling down for my own studies. Lesson planning and grading for the week must happen on the weekends for me.
I imagine that all first year teachers have the same report of a HUGE time investment and a serious learning curve. After that, it does get easier. Learning curriculum, teaching it effectively, and evaluating students fairly is an exhaustive undertaking, each year adding on new ideas.
Someone cut out for teaching should be not only in love with Jesus [how else in the world could someone tolerate the demands of so many people ALL the time without spontaneous combustion?!], but wanting to spend their life loving His people. It is someone who has addressed their own frustration and how to overcome them, so that they can TEACH someone else how to overcome theirs. <—A lot of teaching boils down to showing someone how to be patient with themselves long enough to learn a concept. Finally, it should be someone who is passionate and creative; I have been in many classrooms where that is lacking and I don’t believe I learned much at all.
My favorite part of teaching is the community that God builds and the delight He puts in my for the kids… they sense it and LOVE coming to school. That thrills me. Gratification flows daily; I am someone who likes to see CHANGE. I love for God to PRODUCE fruit through me. I guess it’s the making progress… the “before and after” I see in my students both academically and in their maturity. I am REWARDED and feel purposeful when He uses me and I know I couldn’t do it myself.
Advice? Let God lead. Honor Him in all you do. He will give you a voice – a way to interact with people that lets them know you value them, that you mean business, that you are in control of the situation, that you are imperfect and will make mistakes, that you don’t know everything but will FIND OUT, and that you are there for them in the ups and downs of school… and life.