“Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! (Psalm 100:2 ESV).
I wanted to be a teacher as far back as I can remember. I loved helping the first grade teacher in my Lutheran school grade papers when I was in seventh and eigth grades. I thought that grading papers was the coolest job ever—little did I know! In high school I was active in the Walther League (Yep! I go back that far!) and taught Sunday School. After high school, it never occurred to me to go anywhere but to a Lutheran college so I could teach in a Lutheran school. I have served in Lutheran schools for 42 years—two-thirds of my life! It hardly seems possible.
So why DO I love teaching in a Lutheran School? I have many wonderful friends and family who work in the public schools, including my son, daughter-in-law, and niece. All have close, personal relationships with our Lord and exemplify it in their daily lives. I use the same tools they do when I teach: PLNs, Pinterest, blogs, textbooks, technology, etc. to meet the state standards and fulfill the requirements of the school curriculum. So what makes my teaching position different? I have one tool they cannot use in the classroom—the Word of God.
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I love that I can be intentional about teaching by faith. What a privilege and blessing that is. I can spend time in he Word with my students, integrate the faith in all subject areas, pray not only FOR my students, but WITH my students—every single day. I love teaching my students in a place where our focus is learning, living, and sharing Christ. I consider it a gift from God that I am entrusted with assisting families with the Christian and academic education of their children, and it is a responsibility I take seriously and with great joy.
I love serving with dedicated teachers, support staff, a principal and a pastor who love, support, and pray for me. I love having morning devotions and prayers with my colleagues and going into a different classroom each week, praying for each student by name. I love teaching in a District where its president and superintendent care for and pray for me and all of the church workers under their care.
I love teaching in a Lutheran school because I am a part of a larger family. I see many of our students and their families at worship services. I have the privilege of watching my students grow, become professionals, get married, and raise their own children in the faith. I have the joy of seeing their children attend my school, including my own grandchildren. I even teach with former students! Amazing! It is a blessing to be part of a congregation that values Christian education and makes it a priority to provide us with a beautiful facility, our salaries, and prayers.
I love teaching in a Lutheran School because daily God-sightings are a given. Sixth graders patiently helping the fifth graders work on their research reports. Seventh graders writing books with first graders. Older students hugging lower grade buddies. Middle school students making their own connections between information learned in Christian Studies with Social Studies, Science, and Literature. Students running joyfully into the school at the beginning of the day when I am doing my favorite “duty”—morning greeter. Students asking me to pray for a loved one who is sick or traveling. Students sharing how they are trying to bring unchurched friends to Christ. Students being baptized in chapel or in church.
I love teaching in a Lutheran School because so many parents go out of their way to make us feel valued—often in the form of food: goodies appearing on the counter, breakfasts, lunches (with duty covered! YEA!), and dinners on conference nights. But they also show that they care with appreciative notes, supporting our goals as a school and as teachers, and even with hugs, and most certainly with prayers!
Finally, I love serving in a Lutheran school because it means experiencing grace every single day from colleagues, parents, and students when I make mistakes—and as a sinner, I make them daily, even when I don’t realize it. It also means seeing that grace extended to one another in the classroom. It means asking for forgiveness and knowing without a doubt that it will be granted.
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In Ephesians 4, Paul writes:“And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” WOW! I am still in awe that He considers me worthy of this responsibility. I thank and praise God that He has called me to use my gifts to serve Him in the best possible environment—a Lutheran school—and that He has given me a husband and family who provide so much support. Why do I love to teach in a Lutheran school? Because it is a special gift given to me from God, and I pray that I will always use it to glorify Him.