“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire” – William Butler Yeats
A teacher never knows where his or her influence will lead. This is one of the joys of being a teacher. One night in 2008, my phone rang at mid-night. The person on the other end said, “You taught me English in grade five. Do you remember me?” He told me his name and I remembered him very well. He was a Muslim boy who studied in our Adventist school. He asked, “Do you remember you used to scold me a lot for being naughty and not doing my work on time?” I was embarrassed, and said, “I am very sorry if I hurt your feelings,” but he replied, “If you hadn’t scolded me then, I wouldn’t be at college today. Because of your guidance, I am studying Engineering today, and am one of the best students in the university. I am very thankful to you and I always remember you as my best teacher.”
This experience helped me to realize the real joy, inspiration, and satisfaction of being a teacher. I fully understood the importance of being a teacher. As the former Indian President, Abdul Kalam, said, “Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual.”
The Holy Scripture reminds us in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This is why teachers are considered the most important factor in our schools: because the success or failure of education in our school system depends upon the teachers. They guide, direct and motivate youth toward their goals. I am glad to serve as a teacher and to help shape young minds.
Our passion as teachers should come from within, from love and passion for this profession. If we claim to be teachers and fail to educate the young mind we will be accountable. James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” As Ephesians 4: 11-12 notes, teaching is a gift given to equip God’s people for His service. Similarly, Ellen White noted in Christian Education that teaching is “the most important missionary field in the world.” Undoubtedly, teaching is an honorable and vital profession and I am content in it.
Teaching sometimes brings challenges, discouragement and disappointments. It does not promise a high salary or other benefits to make our lives comfortable in this world. Still, as teachers we are answering a noble call and shaping the lives of countless children to build up their character and brighten their future lives. Although teaching is challenging, if we follow Jesus’s footsteps we can be successful in our ministry. As Proverbs 3: 5-8 says, we should not lean on our own understanding; we should not be wise in our own eyes but submit ourselves to God.
Note: Article written and posted in English