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A Devotion for Teachers for the week of JULY 8, 2018

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Welcome to my weekly devotional site.  These devotions were written over the past twenty years to be used as training tools during our teacher devotional times.  The devotions emphasize leadership and Christian character, teamwork, conflict resolution, and building positive school culture.  I pray the devotions are a blessing to you as you seek God's best for you and your students.

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Proverbs 14:29 Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.    

               Unfortunately, many of us were not born with an easy-going temperament.  Instead, we must build self-control through trials and tests. In the midst of these learning experiences, we can count it all joy.  Why?  Because we can teach our students the secret of overcoming a temper as we conquer our own personal battles.  The teacher who overcomes has a life message of victory. They can offer specific direction and counsel to students who struggle with similar temper difficulties. A patient teacher is loving, yet decisive, in control, understanding and wise.  The godly character displayed in this teacher's life can help to equip students with skills needed to work with his/her fellowman. 

                  "Sounds great, but I'm on the other end of the spectrum--the quick-tempered teacher.  What do I do?" you ask.  Perhaps you need to meditate on the "fruit" or result of a quick-temper. A quick-temper will negate your authority, dull your Christian testimony, be seen as a weakness by your class, and make your day to day experiences miserable for you.                 Once students learn to push your buttons, they will play "the game” over and over again.  The students secretly know that they win the battle when you lose your cool.  They may even joke and make your temper a matter of conversation with other students. As a professional leader, you cannot afford the luxury of showing your anger.   

                  Here are some suggestions that may help.  Meet with your principal or a friend to discuss specific situations that stir up your anger.  Seek counsel to gain insights and solutions to the problem.  Identify the student(s) who push your buttons and determine a plan of action for the next attack.  For instance, you may decide that “Johnny—or Joni” will be placed out in the hallway anytime you feel anger building toward his/her behavior.   It’s better for the student to have “time out” than for you to lose your cool.  You may discover that your discipline has not been methodical and consistent within your classroom.  Correcting this may relieve the tension and regain the control needed.

                  Discipline is never you against students.  Rather it is the student against the rules or the student against your position (teacher). You are simply the policeman who writes out the ticket and gives the student what he has earned.  Your emotions should not be involved.  It is your responsibility to train your students. Teachers never "get back at a student."  That is a child's approach.  As an adult, you are to "train and reprove" and lead the student into more mature actions and thinking.  Keep short accounts--don't let anger build. Pray for students who irritate you. Practice a controlled response privately when there is no conflict--rehearse for the real thing until the response feels more natural.

Dear God, Make me like you--patient, loving and firm.  Give me the courage to discipline with purpose rather than anger. Teach me to act out of responsibility rather than react out of personal rights!