As Adventist teachers, our duty is not only to inspire our students to love academics but also to love God. We are to create a real and lasting impact in the hearts and lives of students. An Adventist teacher must reflect the image of Christ in his or her classroom at all times, and a deep and intimate relationship with God is essential for this.
In addition to a close relationship with God, there are several qualities an Adventist teacher must possess. These qualities allow teachers to connect with their students and provide their students with a model of Christ-like character.
Sense of Mission
A teacher should possess a mission to transform lives for God’s glory. Teaching should go beyond academics. It should be a high calling from God to enhance His work here on earth. Matthew 5:16 encourages us to “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Adventist teachers should demonstrate moral dignity by treating all students fairly, affirming equal opportunities for students, and behaving professionally in their relationships with students. They should hold themselves to the highest Christian standards with regard to character and behavior.
Love for Students
Showing love to students is essential in a classroom. Teachers can show love by being kind and patient and seeking the best in students at all times. Loving teachers strive for self-control even in frustrating situations and open their hearts to all students, especially those who are difficult or struggling. They also gently correct students when needed. As I Corinthians 13:13 reminds us, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Pursuit of Excellence
Teachers should pursue excellence in all things. Colossians 3:23-24 advises us that whatever we do, we should “do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Teachers should encourage their students to strive for excellence in character and behavior as well.
Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Adventist teachers are to possess within them the fruits of the Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). These fruits are essential because teaching presents a variety of challenges, and these traits allow teachers to deal with situations in a Christ-like manner.
Search for Biblical Truth and Wisdom
In order to guide students in the right path, teachers need to dig deep for biblical wisdom and truth and encourage students to do the same. Biblical principles and values should take top priority. Applying biblical principles to real-life situations is particularly powerful.
While we all fail at times to exhibit these characteristics, God is faithful to lead us as we grow and lean on Him for strength.