Yesterday I took a few moments to scroll through Facebook. I wanted a mindless task. I stumbled on a video shared by a fellow educator, and while I usually don’t take time to watch videos, this one looked interesting. It was hard to watch as eighteen teachers shared their disappointment, disillusionment, and frustration with the educational profession. All eighteen are reluctantly choosing to leave their jobs. Some will stay in the field of education, but most will not. Based on what I could tell, none of these teachers wanted to leave. Each had a different story. All had lost hope.
The system of education in America is in a state of unrest. Educators are feeling under-appreciated and devalued. On the surface it might appear that teacher pay is the culprit, but I would contend it is much more. As I observe the educational system across the country, teachers and administrators are plagued by a myriad of challenges.
· Lack of resources, training, and support
· Increased student needs
· Broken families
· Constant change
· Poor leadership
…and the list goes on.
What is a Christian educator to do? The first action to take is to pray while seeking discernment and wisdom in God’s Word. As I look back over my years in education, I have to admit that I haven’t always done this, at least not initially. I tend to be pretty independent – always have been. Just ask my mom.
When difficult situations arise, I usually go into an emotionally charged problem solving mode. I have learned the hard way to take a step back. I am still learning. While God created me to be an independent problem solver, He is teaching me to be dependent on Him. We must depend on him daily – not weekly, not monthly, but every single day.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)
You can make plans but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)
What is a Christian educator to do? Another important action we can take is to seek out fellow Christians, especially Christian educators in our places of work. We need each other. While we can certainly seek out fellow Christians outside the work place (and we should), God knows we need each other. I don’t believe we are in our places of work by accident. He created us for community. In Genesis 2 God said it was not good for man to be alone. While I know He was referring to the marriage relationship, we see evidences all throughout Scripture of Christians leaning on each other.
· When Daniel was in fear of his life, he returned to his home and discussed the matter with his friends so they could
pray and seek God’s compassion together.
· Jesus chose not one but twelve disciples. He knew how much they would lean on each other.
· Throughout Acts we see God sending out the first missionaries in pairs or triads.
· Paul and Timothy’s relationship was characterized by mutual guidance and encouragement.
There is nothing like a Christian friend. The bond is indescribable. But friendships don’t just happen. Friendships must be cultivated, and we have to be comfortable with a certain level of vulnerability.
· Do you know the believers in your workplace?
· Do you engage with them?
· Do you talk to them about spiritual issues?
· Do you share what God is doing in your life?
· Do you ask how God is working in their life?
· Do you offer wisdom from God’s word?
· Do you seek wisdom from them?
· Do you pray together?
We don’t always know why we are facing certain challenges. We don’t always know why God has placed us in a particular job. We don’t always know why God has given us certain challenges. But we know that He will never leave us or forsake us. We know God’s Word provides guidance. We know He listens when we pray, and we know He puts people in our path to love and support us. Be intentional. Seek out the Christian educators in your workplace.
You need them, and they need you.
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. Galatians 3:26-29 (NLT)