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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Teachers (07/12/04)

TITLE: Teacher's take heed
By Jan Warrick


“But that is not fair Lord”, I protested silently as I read the verse again. “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1 NIV) Why should teachers be judged more strictly, God? Why did you single them out? It’s just not right! As my mind tried to reconcile what I had just read, a myriad of memories and thoughts flooded my mind.
My second grade year was filled with fear. Horrible flashbacks overwhelmed me as I remembered the hellhole that was my second grade classroom. Like an old fashioned movie, frightening images flashed before my mind. Alberto, the child of migrant workers, sat in a front row desk. He spoke very little English and our teacher didn’t speak any Spanish. Whenever Alberto didn’t understand an assignment, our teacher would physically pull him out of his desk and stuff him into the closet of the cloakroom and close the closet door. What is worse, there were times he forgot he put Alberto in there and left him there for hours….Another memory assaulted my mind. Timidly raising my hand I asked the teacher to explain a question I didn’t understand. Fury filled the teacher’s face. “Mark read the question to Jan” ordered the teacher. Mark dutifully read the question to me. “Do you understand the question?” the teacher barked at me. “No” I said quietly. “Mark read the question to Jan, AGAIN!” Mark again read the question. “Do you understand the question!?” “No” I said, tears streaming down my face while fear gripped my heart. A paralyzing fear that numbed my brain. I knew the teacher was going to stuff me into the closet like he had done to Alberto so many times. To this day, I do not remember how that scene ended.
Another classroom scene flashed into my thoughts. I was sitting in the classroom of a prestigious “Christian” university. The course, Religious Study. As I looked at my fellow students I could see eager expectation on their faces. They were ready to learn and looked to the professor to dispense on them her wisdom. I too was excited about the class, but that excitement soon turned to horror as I listened to what was being taught. “The Bible is full of myth and legend”, said the professor authoritatively. I blinked in astonishment. Had I heard her correctly? Yep, she said it again. I again looked at the eager faces of the students. They were absorbing her teachings like sponges. Not one questioned her but accepted what she said as gospel truth. I sat dumbfounded as I realized this one woman was leading a classroom of sixty adults down a path that was clearly not Biblical.
Slowly God’s reasons for judging teachers more strictly made sense to me. Teachers are given the privilege and awesome responsibility of molding minds, thoughts and hearts. What and how they teach will have a lasting effect on their students, whether positive or negative. It is a profession that has incredible power to build up or destroy lives.
Another verse flashed through my mind. Matthew 19:14, “Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them…” In this case, the disciples hindered the children physically, but I believe that we as teachers can hinder children and adults from coming to God with the power of our words. We as writers are also teachers; we need to heed God’s words, “…because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Lee Schab 07/19/04
This was a great approach you took for the subject of "teachers". It made me stop & rethink the responsibility that truly does lay on our shoulders as teachers - whether it's a classroom teacher,a parent, or writer. We should all be more aware of what our actions and words will produce. Thanks for the reminder!
If I could give you one suggestion it would be to put a space between paragraphs to make it easier on the eyes for the reader. That's just a personal preference. Other than that, excellent job!
Blessings, Lynda Schab
Randy Chambers07/19/04
Kept my interest the whole way through. Evoked the kind of feelings you might expect regarding the injustices described. Great message, at the end, to all who aspire to write. Thanks
Kay Brown07/20/04
Amen and amen. You nailed it. Good job.
Mary Elder-Criss07/20/04
Really great entry. After reading your story, I can truly understand that Scripture and the importance of it. Thanks for sharing this. Mary
Phyllis Inniss07/21/04
I am so glad I read this. You have put over the responsibility of being a teacher from the biblical perspective very clearly indeed.
L.M. Lee07/21/04
that scripture always hounded me when I use to teach Sunday school
Marcell Billinghurst07/22/04
This is very true about the impact our words and actions can have on the lives of others. Not just as teachers and writers but also in our daily lives.an awesone responsibility.
Kenny Paul Clarkson07/22/04
Every teacher should read this. Excellent!
Lisa Beaman07/23/04
I wish all teachers could understand the power they have over their students. A good teacher can do so much, but one bad teacher can ruin everything!
Karen Treharne07/25/04
Excellent writing Jan and worthy of my vote. It made me sad and upset and finally releaved to know that even though you had such a bad experience with teachers, you became one yourself. All who you teach are blessed doubly because of the lessons you learned early on. This is very well-written, and should be submitted somewhere...maybe a teacher's magazine, but also definately a Christian one. Your message relates to all of us who dare to pass on the word of God to others. We become teachers at that moment, and our truth MUST be accurate. We must all pray for His words and His truth whenever we take on that role...particularly with children. God bless you in your profession and may He encourage you to publish for others to read.