Core scripture: “Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Message: There is a reason the Fruits of the Spirit begin with love. To be fruitful for Christ, the love He showed us must pour out to others through every word we speak, every step we take. When your students walk into your class for the first time this week, they should immediately see that there is something different about you. The Christian teacher is all about love. Can you be that love? How do you show appropriate love for your students? I was thinking about what I do that first week of school to show that love to my students. In no particular order, here are three ideas on how you can do likewise (plus a few other freebees).
First, get to know your students’ names and interests immediately. The tendency for some is to do a quick get-to-know-you activity the first day and then dive right into curriculum. I promise you that if you spend a week or two easing in to material, relationships will bud, classroom camaraderie will flourish, and the remainder of your school year will be that much easier. Luke 12:7 talks about how God knows every hair on our head. Be that same love! Students don’t work for teachers that fail to care about them. Build that loving relationship by learning their names and asking about what makes them tick. They will love you for it!
Besides showing the tenderhearted love mentioned above, do not be hesitant to show love through discipline if needed. Proverbs 13:24 states, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” Most kids won’t show their true colors until 2nd quarter, but you might have that child who pushes boundaries from day one. The rest of the class is watching you closely in how you deal with that student. If you let the small things go, you have just opened a can of worms that lets the others know you will allow mediocrity. Be firm in a loving way. Redirect as needed and set the tone for what you feel comfortable with.
Finally, allow the love of Christ to flow into your colleagues as well. Do you have a new faculty member on staff or notice a student teacher? Introduce yourself. Seek them out. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Do you see someone struggling to get started? Help them. Get them organized. Pray for them, and go a step further by letting them know you are praying for them. Wearing your faith on your sleeve like that will show others where you are at and will help you build positive work relationships. Who knows! You might just find another brother or sister in Christ.
Not to overwhelm, but here are other ways to show love the first week of school. Call them freebees:
- Smile and greet students with a high five.
- Be bold in your faith in telling your students where your faith is. It is amazing how many Christian students will soon be flocking to you. When they do, shepherd them.
- Ask plenty of questions to get to know your students. My favorite questions: What should I know about you before I teach you? How do you learn best? What makes you tick?
- Write encouraging notes to colleagues and students. Even a small Post-it can inspire!
- Be visible in the hallways during passing period. I love helping 6th graders with their lockers, and shooing the 7th and 8th grade stragglers on to class on time—in a nice way of course.
- Find old students and ask how their summer was. Especially the ones you miss most.
- Be positive in all you do. Your enthusiasm will radiate into those around you.
- There is no better way to show love than to pray. Tape a reminder on your desk to do this daily. No questions asked.
Jesus loved us unconditionally. Be that same love to your students, colleagues, administration, parents, custodians, secretaries … EVERYONE. Paul challenges us in 1 Corinthians 16:14 to, “Let all that you do be done in love.” Others should know you are a Christian through the love you show for others. May the Fruits of the Spirit be alive in you this school year. It all starts with that first fruit.
It all starts with love.
Challenge: Reply back to this blog and cue others in on how YOU show love and kindness to your students. If we all work synergistically together, sharing ideas and challenging each other to be Christ, imagine how God could use us to empower each other!
Song application: “The Proof of Your Love” by For King and Country
So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You’re made of
How You lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
Oh, let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
Quote: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)
Bible story: Read the story of Jesus and the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11. No stones were thrown that day because Jesus loved her that much. Be that same love to others.
Prayer: Father, let Your perfect love spill through my every action this school year. May my love be passionate, unbiased, and unconditional—all for You. Amen.
Thank you for the wonderful reminders!