You ARE a Teacher; Please Teach the Right Things (Plus, a Free Resource Inside)

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This one’s for all the non-teacher, teachers (plus a free resource).

In memory of one of my mentors, Elaine Purkey.

Did you know it’s possible for dreams to change? 

It happened to me. I used to have a dream that I would be a teacher, but I never finished college to get my degree. There are a few reasons I didn’t but the main point is that I do not have a degree in teaching. 

I have held onto the dream for years that someday I would still get my degree, and who knows, it may still happen. However, I have spent time volunteering in my kids classes at school and I’ve seen those classes, without the rose colored glasses I was looking through back then. I have also seen more of what those teachers are going through right now and I’m not sure it’s really something I want to do anymore. 

I think that if I did finish my degree, I probably wouldn’t use it in a traditional classroom setting like I always thought I would. 

At the end of the school year last year, when many parents were abruptly forced into “homeschooling” whether they wanted to be or not, I think it was a bit of culture shock for me. I have always played with the idea of possibly homeschooling my kids and that made up my mind that I would not be considering that anymore unless I had to. 

Now, here we are. At the beginning of another school year where it looks like we will at least be starting off the year in an untraditional way of them learning from home most of the time. I am determined to do better this time. I have all kinds of tricks up my sleeve and I think I’m a lot more prepared. You might want to ask me how I am doing in a week or two. 

I have heard many parents say, “I am not a teacher”. If I’m honest, I have considered myself somewhat of a teacher but not really. I mean, I didn’t even get my degree. 

But here’s the thing. When you’re a parent, an aunt or uncle, a grandma or grandpa, or even just a human being, you are a teacher whether you want to be or not. People watch you and learn from you. You can even watch small children and see it. Notice a younger child observing an older child and then starting to do what they do, good or bad. 

In one of my songwriting classes, the teacher made the statement that when you are a songwriter, the question is not if you are a theologian or not, it’s whether you’re a good one or not. 

I say to you, if you’re alive, the question is not if you’re a teacher or not, it’s whether you’re a good one or not.   

As a matter of fact, you are your child’s greatest teacher. 

Does that scare you a little? It probably should. I know it does me. 

I’m not only a teacher to my kids, but to others who are watching me to see how I act and react. They’re watching to see if what I say and what I do line up with each other. They notice when I do well, they also see me mess up. Hopefully, they also notice when I go back and admit my mistakes, apologize, and ask them to forgive me and bear with me as I try to learn to do better.

Some of my greatest teachers in life never had a teaching degree. I was just telling my kids one of the many things that my mom taught me earlier this week and quite possibly, they will tell their kids some day one of the things I pass on to them. 

My mom has taught me so much, mostly by the way she lives. Maybe one of the biggest things she has shown/taught me is how to have faith regardless of how you feel. I am a feeler and she is more of a realist so that kind of stubborn faith kind of amazes me.  

In fact, I have had several people to pour into my life that really didn’t have an obligation or really any reason to. But they’ve made a huge difference in my life by deciding to take some time to teach me. 

I just lost a great friend who passed away last week who took me under her wing when I was a teenager. She was a musician/singer/songwriter and took me with her on several great adventures. I got to sing with her at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. when I was 18 years old. She was over twice my age and didn’t have to waste her time dealing with a silly teenager. However, she chose to mentor me and pour into me. She spent time with me. Showing me things. Teaching me things that I won’t forget any time soon. She made a huge difference in my life and I am thankful that she took the time to do that. 

I want to make that kind of difference in the life of someone else too.  

Actually, this is a biblical concept. 

Titus 2:3-5 says it like this: 

3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.    

Did you notice the last line of the third verse? Teachers of good things? There were teachers before there were degrees. That tells me that having a degree does not make me a teacher. Being alive does. The Bible also encourages older men to be good examples for the younger men too. 

So I guess I am a teacher! You are too!! You know what else we are? Equipped to do what God has called us to do. I believe that with His strength and guidance, we will have the best school year ever. 

This year has started off quite a bit different than what many of us had hoped. I, along with many others that I have heard from, have a lot of uncertainty about what this school year will be like. That’s kind of how I’ve felt about this whole year in general. However, I refuse to let that uncertainty turn into fear. I will learn as I teach. I will take what comes knowing that I am the woman for the job and I will do the best I can. I hope you will too. Nothing productive comes from that kind of fear.   

Now, I’m not saying that I am qualified to do the job of a teacher without having all of the education and training that they have gone through to do what they do. I don’t even want to think about what it would be like to try to keep over twenty kids quiet and engaged and learning all day. God bless the teachers. To say that I appreciate them is an understatement. 

What I am saying is that we can do this. We don’t have to be intimidated by this season that we’re in. We are not going to ruin our kids and we will all be okay.    

Through it all, I pray that we can be teachers of patience. That we can show our kids that even though things might not be going the way we want them to, we can still find the good in it and enjoy where we are instead of wasting time wishing things were different and having a horrible attitude. 

Thankfully, I have had some time to prepare for this school year. I have decided that since my kids will likely not be having any field trips through the school, we will be having our own. Even if they are in our backyard. We will be creative and learn together. I have also added an extra subject: Bible. If you are interested in a good Bible study for your pre-teen, here is a link for some very good and free ones! 

There is one other thing that I’m fully confident in: we will have the best lunch break ever. That’s my kids favorite subject anyway and I’m determined to rock it.  

Please be encouraged in this season of life and know that it is just that. A season. It won’t last forever. We will get through it. One step at a time. And we will come out stronger, closer, and better than ever.

Telina Frye is the author of Dare to Dream, as well as a pastor’s wife and mother to her 13 year old son and 10 year old daughter. 

She is a singer/songwriter and a natural born dreamer. Telina is also credentialed in the Church of God as an Exhorter and holds a Minister of Music License. She serves as the worship leader at the church where her husband serves as lead pastor. 

Telina loves having deep, meaningful conversations about what is and what could be. She hopes this blog will inspire readers to dare to look past what is, see what can be, and reach for the impossible.

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