As you graduate from college and embark on your teaching career, I extend my sincere congratulations and pray for God’s blessing for you. God has called you to your profession, and He has already begun qualifying you through your Christian education, and by giving you a personality of kindness, tenderess and an unselfish love for others.
As you begin your career in teaching, I would like to share a prayer with you. !twas one of my goals as a teacher to personally pray this prayer each morning before beginning a school day. I believe that if God has answered that prayer, one’s work as a teacher has been worthwhile. The prayer is:
“Let me teach these children with an upright heart, and let me guide them with a skillful hand. Let these children grow in wisdom and understanding.”
The first part of the prayer is based on Psalm 78:72, an evaluation of the work of David as king of Israel: “With upright heart he tended them, and guided them with skillful hand” (RSV). The prayer for the children is taken from Job 28:28b in which the words “wisdom” and “Understanding” are defined: “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (RSV).
Jody, I urge you to be a praying Christian teacher and one who feeds on God’s Word. You are connected by prayer to the Master Teacher and the Master Psychologist. He understands the knowledge in all the academic subjects in which you must teach and guide your students, but He also knows all the learning, emotional and social needs of each of your students. He has made each dear soul whose person you see in the student’s desk. I encourage you to pray for your students generally but also specifically. Their needs are known to God. God will show you how to help in ways you never could have known or thought of by yourself. I like the saying: “Pray as if everything depends on prayer; then work as if everything depends on your work.”
I encourage you to teach humbly, and not with a goal to make a name for yourself or solicit praise from people. I urge you to do your work for the Lord, working for God’s commendation: “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21 and 23) (NIV).
Another thing I would like to recommend to you as you begin your work as a Christian teacher in a Christian school is to remember Deuteronomy 6:4–9, Write God’s Word and its teachings upon the walls of your classroom through bulletin boards, posters and displays. Speak God’s Word and wisdom through teaching the Bible faithfully and accurately, and applying the Scriptures in every area of your teaching to help your students develop a Christian world and life view.
The following poem entitled: “A Teacher’s Prayer” was written on an ornament gift I received. It is my prayer that this may be yours as you take up the challenging but rewarding profession of teaching.
A Teacher’s Prayer
Dear Father, hear me as I pray, For every child I teach today That each small face may be to me A cherished photograph of Thee.
With patient sweetness let me guide Each precious soul with love and pride That when I make their record sheet No space will be left incomplete.
Then grant me grace, each mind to give A clear-marked rule by which to live. And then dear Father, I beseech, That I may keep the rule I teach. (author unknown)
It is my prayer that you may experience much joy and success with God’s blessing as you leave the halls of higher learning in which you were taught, and go to the halls of learning where you are called to be a teacher and guide. I have complete confidence that you, with God’s help, will be a wonderful, effective Christian teacher.
With love, Your Aunt Jan
Jan Groenendyk was a Christian school teacher for twenty-seven years. She is the wife of Rev. Marion Groenendyk and is a member of the First Zeeland CRC.