Hello fellow teachers--we made it through another school year. Whoohoo! I know it hasn’t been easy, at least not for me it hasn’t. We endured until the end because we are finishers. I finished but it was not an easy journey to the finishing line. In fact, God allowed me to experience some bumps and bruises to obtain the reward of success. He said that those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution and that’s so true. But unfortunately the persecution some times comes from other believers.
This school year we just concluded was my first year as a public school teacher in my 15 years as an educator. Unequivocally, the difference between public and private is like night and day. One major adjustment, I had to make was the large quantity of testing required by the state of Texas, hence my gathering of weekly data. My classroom consisted of 22 fourth grade AA (Academic Advantage) students in a self-contained classroom. Though I had a lot to absorb quickly, I was able to see the reward of hard work and dedication with 100% passing rate in both Reading and Writing on the STAAR test with 45% commended in Reading and 19% commended in Writing. Math scores didn’t count because of the integration of new TEKS. Praise God! God is Awesome!!
I’ve had so many people ask me how in the world I experienced such success being a first year teacher in public school and all of my students passed. I told them that I didn’t do it but God did it through me. My prayer prior to school starting was for God to bless me with students that I am supposed to impact this school year. So I knew that the students that I had was of no accident but a God incident. God had foreknowledge of my passion for teaching and the students assigned to me needed what I could sow into their lives. God already knew that all of my students were going to pass the STAAR but I didn’t. According to Jeremiah 29:11 our lives have already been successfully planned out by God. He has stepped back into “time” to allow us to experience His plans. God’s lesson plans for us were planned with the end in mind just like our lesson plans are planned for our students.
My first semester went very well without any challenges. I was pleased with how things were going due to the fact that I was working a second job teaching two college courses two days a week. My students were obedient, parents were very supportive and encouraging, scores were high on weekly assessments and benchmarks, students really loved me and teaching in public school was great.
The beginning of the second semester started in a similar way as the first semester until I encountered some ungodly and unethical experiences. Though I choose not to go into much detail, one thing was certain through the experiences: a testimony is not without a test. Of course, I had the opportunity and choice. Instead, I choose to respond according to God’s principles and in a professional way. Without doubt I knew that my response to the situation was directly connected to all of my students passing.
My hope and prayer is that my testimony will encourage any teacher or readers out there that have been done wrong. Let me assure you that it is of no surprise to God. He knows what’s going to happen to us before it happens. He also allows it as a great opportunity for spiritual growth and maturity and also to let us see what is in our own hearts. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. God is also waiting to see how you and I are going to respond. In my case, I pleased God with my response and because of that, the anointing and power of God on my life was not interfered with or interrupted. In other words, I passed the character test. You see, I haven’t always passed every test that God allowed me to encounter and because of that I had to retake them. When I say test, I am not talking about a physical test but a test of living a Christian life according to God’s principles and His way of doing things. As I reflect on the success of my students; these are the following things that I did and know contributed to their success.
· I prayed for my students. In many cases your prayers might be the only prayer they might receive. I made sure that they knew I loved and believed in them. I expressed interests in each of them as individuals. I didn’t compare but accepted them where they were, knowing what they could become. I made sure they knew of my expectations of daily efforts both academically and behaviorally. I showered them with recognition and praise. I think when students know they are loved and believed in, they will maximize their potential for you.
· I applied God’s word. It was non-negotiable. I knew if I wanted biblical results I had to apply spiritual principles. First, I had to pray for my enemies. Did I want to pray for them, absolutely not. But I had to obey God’s word if I wanted Him to get involved in my situation. Although I could have fought back, but God specifically told me that He wanted to fight my battle for me. Believe me; God is not going to handle our problems the way that we handle them. He’s looking at the forest and not the trees. His ways are so much higher than our ways. God said vengeance belongs to Him, He will repay.
· Additionally, I chose to forgive. It can be tough to forgive when you have been wronged and you know beyond any doubt you didn’t do anything to warrant the assaults. However, God’s word says unless we forgive He will not forgive us. To sum it up, I chose to walk in love. Now, this one was the greatest challenge for me especially since the assaults came from professed believers. God encouraged my heart not to judge, unless I would be judged and that many people will say that they are Christians but few respond in godly ways. That was a good revelation for me to grasp because I cannot control how someone responds to God’s word or me.
· I relinquished all control of the situation and turned it over to God. Immediately I experienced God’s peace, one that surpasses all human understanding. God said in His word that if you keep your mind focused on Him, He will keep you in perfect peace. I chose to walk by faith and not by sight. Only those I was accountable to knew about the situation. At the end of the day, I could experience peaceful sleep because all my cares were already cast unto the Lord. Why? Because He loves and cares for me.
I pray you are encouraged. I think it’s unfortunate that teachers have to go through unwarranted circumstances with other colleagues. We have enough problems and stress already trying to equip students to learn and pass the state assessment - STAAR. Whatever the situation, let go and let God. He is in control! God is always working behind the scenes even if you can’t see anything changing about the situation. God is Good and Faithful!