TEACHER DEVOTION FOR THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 4, 2016
WHAT IS GOOD? WHAT DOES THE LORD REQUIRE OF ME?
Micah 6:8 (KJV) He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
According to Micah 6:8 there are three things that God requires of us—(1) To do justly, (2) to love mercy, and (3) to walk humbly with God. Justice means being impartial, fair, and doing what is right. Mercy shows compassion and concern for another. Humility considers the needs of others above our own—not being proud or haughty. This Scripture has an important application to teachers. We face decisions each day. Some decisions are small with little consequence, and other decisions may affect a child’s life for years to come. Many teachers react to situations in the classroom based upon personal school experiences. Teachers often justify their decisions by saying, “That’s just the way it is done.” Unfortunately, teachers repeat unjust actions and merciless decisions against students without evaluating the legitimacy of such a decision.
For instance, if a student turns in his math test (or any other test) with unanswered questions, most teachers will quickly place an “X” on the blank problems and grade the test. I propose that the love of Christ compels us to ask the student, “John, did you mean to leave these questions blank?” If he says no, the teacher’s mercy and love would allow him to complete the problems. Or, perhaps as you grade a paper, you realize the student misread the instructions which caused him to miss every question in that section. Perhaps true justice mixed with mercy and humility would compel the teacher to ask the student to do that section again following the correct instructions.
Immediately, some will say that is not right. He should have caught those mistakes. My question to you is, “What is your purpose for giving a test?” Is it to measure the child’s learning? If so, how does counting off points for his omission measure his true learning? If grades do not reflect the child’s knowledge, they are not accurate measurements of learning. Too many times we use grades to “punish” a student assuming we are training the child by giving a lower grade. The most important questions in reference to the Scripture above are, “What is ‘good’ in this situation?” "What is 'just' in this situation?"
As an example, I would like to share a personal experience with you. My dyslexic son was in the third grade. We worked extremely hard every night to get his work completed and to keep his grades up. One morning I checked his backpack and found a large stack of papers. They appeared to be graded and returned by the teacher. In a rush, I removed the papers and placed them on the kitchen table planning to look through them when I returned home. About an hour after school began, my son came rushing to my classroom and asked me where his papers were. He told me that he had a history paper in his backpack that was due that day. I assured him everything would be okay. I would explain to his teacher that it was my fault. To my shock and dismay, the teacher gave my son a “0” for the paper. She said I was asking for special privileges because I was a teacher. I told her that it was my fault, and my son didn’t even know that I took the papers out. I told her we would get the paper to her later that afternoon or first thing the next morning. She refused to accept the paper. She would not even consider my appeal. To this day I cannot see the justice or mercy in her response.
I often hear similar stories from parents. As representatives of Jesus Christ, it would be best for us to consider these type decisions through eyes of justice and mercy looking for what is “good” and “best” in the situation. As teachers, let us seek to be a blessing to the children and their parents rather than a stumbling block.
Dear God, Open my heart to understand justice and mercy. I need the mind of Christ to make decisions on an individual basis. Fill me with your wisdom and your grace.
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