Monday, August 9, 2010


“The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life” –Prov. 13:14

School is getting ready to start and thousands of teachers across the country are going back to work. I know most have had a great summer off, but I’m glad they’re going back to the classroom to do what they do. Thousands of kids need what they can offer.

Teachers play such a huge part in the growth and development of kids. As parents, we’re always a bit nervous about our kids’ new teachers. We’d prefer to receive a detailed background check and personality profile for each of our child’s teachers. But in the end, we pray that the teacher will be as concerned about our child as a person as well as his/her grades.

Miss Stepp was my fifth grade teacher. I had just moved to Fort Worth from Alabama (my dad was in the Air Force and was transferred). Being the youngest of four boys, I was a pretty insecure and a shy little guy. Miss Stepp took the extra time to reach out and make me feel special. It’s been over forty years ago and I still remember her because she cared about me first. I had many other teachers that shared that same attitude.

Mr. Tucker was my woodshop teacher in eighth grade. He invited me to be his aide for a class period. It meant so much to me. I still remember how special I felt taking that role for him. He was kind of strict but when he looked me in the eyes and said, “good job,” it meant a lot.

Miss Ross was my senior year English teacher. Though her class was very hard, she took time out to explain to me how the course would help in college. She often asked me about my future. Looking back, more than any other high school teacher, she helped me prepare for college.

Gerald Fielder was my political science teacher in college. That was not my major, but a course required to graduate from Baylor. Somehow, our personalities clicked and I found myself going to his office on several occasions to discuss life. Our friendship continued after college and when he passed away a few years ago, I had the honor of speaking at his memorial service in Waco. He always asked me questions about my family and about the ministry. He was a great encourager.

There is another list of teachers with whom I never connected. But I bet they connected with other students. I learned something from them too- simply to work hard and to do what was expected.

Parents and students, remember that teaching school is a difficult job. Most teachers are underpaid and overworked. So, how about this year, try being an encourager for teachers? Slip them a note of thanks or leave an apple on their desk.

All the teachers I mentioned were able to affect me so greatly because I let them affect me. Students, have an open heart and parents, don't involve yourselves too much in their work. They may handle your child differently than you, but so will their coaches and bosses one day. They need to learn to live with different styles of leadership in their lives.

Let’s commit to pray for our nations’ teachers. Pray for strength for them as they love on America’s kids and teens.

Pray they enjoy the apple left on their desk.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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