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Topic: Teachers (07/12/04)
TITLE: Teacher's take heed
By Jan Warrick
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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.”