A Teacher on Mission – Rebecca Chapman

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I started teaching 3rd and 4th graders in public school 15 years ago. I always thought that I’d be a stay at home mom once I had kids, but after I had my first, I totally surprised myself and wanted to get back into the classroom. 3 kids later, I still can’t give it up and feel a calling to continue to teach.  There’s a joy that I feel and a fulfillment that comes from seeing those faces light up and from knowing that I can make a difference in their lives. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of days that I’m tired, frustrated, or just going through the motions trying to get to the end of the  week. There are days I think I’d rather sit behind a computer in a cubical and get through the day. But no matter what I do, I’m being watched. I have a class full of young people who watch me, listen to my words, read my body language, and will remember something about me for years to come.  I’m on mission.  

Teaching is a huge responsibility and opportunity. I can make a difference in a child’s life. Whether I want to or not, the things I say and do will have an impact on a child’s life. A smile, an encouragement, a lesson taught can be something a child remembers for decades. I don’t know what seeds are being planted today that might grow into something greater in the future. 

Even though I can’t talk to my students about Jesus, my prayer is that they see evidence of Him in my life. I know that if I go into my classroom reminding myself that I’m on mission, praying to God for strength, and asking to be filled with the Spirit, my life will have fruit.  I will have love for my students. I will have joy and peace. I will have patience. I will have kindness and goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. I want this fruit to be a clear reflection of God in my life. 

Very often as a teacher I really do feel like the my students hear me like the kids on Charlie Brown hear their teacher. “Whaa wha wha whaaa wha whaaaa.” They get so tired of hearing me talking that my words are just noise. I want to be more than just noise. I want to leave them with something real and lasting. I want God to shine through me. 

Lord, I thank you so much for the opportunity you have given me to be on mission. I pray that you fill me with your Spirit and make me new every day. Give me the words to say and the patience I need. I pray that my students see something different in me and want to find out what that is. Without you, I can do nothing. Without love, my words are a clanging cymbal.

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