Hey, Teacher! Are You a Servant?

A pointed question for sure!  You may have answered, “I hope so.”  Perhaps your silent response was “sometimes.”  Maybe you honestly just aren’t sure.  Oh, you are sure that you want to be, but just are not sure if you really measure up.

© 2011 Seth Anderson. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#23).

© 2011 Seth Anderson. Creative Commons. Click here for full citation (#23).

Here’s an acrostic that can help.  I found it in a great read written by Joy McCullough called Kingdom Living in Your Classroom.  She describes the teacher-student relationship this way.

A Sustained Relationship – It is important to maintain relationships with our students.  More importantly, we must maintain a sustained relationship with our Lord.  If we are rightly related to the Lord, we will be much more effective in maintaining sustained relationships with our students.

An Edifying Relationship – It is important for teachers to promote relationships that “build up, promote, and instruct.”  Teachers must remember that teaching is not just an academic exercise.  A good teacher is always seeking to help a student advance or progress.

A Respectful Relationship – Teachers must earn the respect of students; respect never comes from a demand.  A student must choose to respect a teacher based on the teacher’s actions, character, and relationship with God and others.  A dear friend used to remind me that “a student convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”  Respect is not demanded, it is earned.

A Valued Relationship – Teachers that are servants must learn to value relationships with students, seeing these young people as created in the image of God.  While a relationship is important and honorable, teachers must not compromise integrity to maintain a relationship, understanding that any compromise to establish a relationship will be magnified in the compromise to maintain the relationship.

An Affordable Relationship – Teachers must be able to afford the time to establish and maintain the relationships with students.  This requires careful planning and daily preparation so that when the optimum time for establishing or building a relationship, the teacher is not pre-occupied with a menial chore that is pressing a more important opportunity (relationship building) out of priority status.

A Nurtured Relationship – A effective teacher establishes with students relationships that  build, strengthen, and educate.  Sarcasm is off limits.  Why?  The term sarcasm literally means “to rip or tear flesh.”  What about that is strengthening or building up?  Students should know that you value them, and that you want to see them (students) empower your school.

A Trusted Relationship – Every relationship is built on trust.  As a teacher, confidentiality must always be maintained.  Teachers must earn the trust of their fellow educators and students.  Trust is the foundation for any strong relationship.

What kind of relationship have you maintained with your student?  Are you continually cultivating strong relationships with older students?  What about efforts to be a SERVANT?  

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McCullough, J.  (2008).  Kingdom Living in Your Classroom.  Colorado Springs, CO:  Purposeful Design, Inc.

Edward is the founder and managing editor of Focus on Christian Education. He also serves as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools.