Your teachers have returned this week for in-service preparation for the new school year. God has abundantly blessed Bob Jones Academy with some of the finest loving, professional, knowledgeable, and trusting teachers to be found in any school. I marvel at the caliber of teachers He has assembled here.
What makes a good teacher? Many ingredients, to be sure, but let me mention three key characteristics I see in each of your teachers—love for God, love for your students, and love of teaching.
Foremost, your teachers love God. What a blessing it is to hear what God is doing in and through each teacher! When conversing with BJA teachers, it doesn’t take long to ascertain their love and reliance on God. Each teacher has trusted Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Each teacher seeks to obey the Lord in her or his daily walk. Each teacher faces personal challenges and looks to God for strength and grace. Each teacher desires to reflect Christ in her or his words and actions. Are teachers perfect? No, but they are seeking each day to become more like Christ. As a parent, you can have tremendous confidence that your teachers will be Christlike role models and instructors for your children.
Your teachers love your students. Do you ever pause and ponder the patience, creativity, and wisdom the teachers display on a daily basis? Perhaps you have two or three children. (Some of you have eight! We are praying for you!) If you are candid, you may admit that there are times when your children frustrate you. Can you imagine spending seven hours every day with twenty or more students under your direct care? Can you imagine being responsible to know where they all are and what they are doing? Can you imagine the creativity and compassion necessary to encourage the discouraged student while calming the hyperactive student while motivating the lazy student while redirecting the mischievous student while instructing the eager student? Your teachers are masterful in their love for your children. Teacher appreciation comes around once a year, but, truly, your teachers deserve a daily hug!
And your teachers love to teach! They are professionals, continually seeking to develop their skills. Each is a lifelong learner. Each is involved in personal and professional development. Just ask a teacher what he or she has being doing over the summer and you will hear things like attending a workshop, researching a new topic, learning a new app, speaking at a conference, serving on a mission trip, or taking a class. Each is engaged in some kind of continuing learning. As a group, we collaborate to improve our teaching. As just one example, this year we are using a curriculum development application called CurriculumTrak to map the course objectives, essential questions, biblical integration, and assessments for each of the courses. This tool has many benefits, one of which is to make sure we are covering instructional concepts thoroughly and in a logical, sequential order that facilitates learning across grades and subjects. It is hard work on the part of your teachers, but they are embracing it for the benefit of your children.
As we begin another year, I hope that you will pray daily for your teachers. The responsibility of a teacher is weighty. But with God’s grace and your encouragement, you will see significant growth in your children this year. I remember in the past seeing a bumper sticker that said, “Have you hugged a teacher today?” Today would be a wonderful day to reach out and tell your teachers how much you appreciate them!