To serve in a public school system is challenging enough for a teacher. Right now we’re in a climate in which public education gets beat up in the media for the state of our education, for public safety, etc. It’s in the news all the time, so it’s hard enough as it is.
But as a Christian, there is an extra layer of importance, significance and urgency despite the climate.
If you call yourself a disciple of Jesus Christ and you want to be a public school teacher, you should know there are some challenges but the reward and the impact are so great.
As a public school teacher who is Christian, you are highly visible. Maybe you won’t be to your district leaders nor the rest of your school staff, but you will definitely be visible to the kids who you teach.
Whether you have 30 small children a day or 35 different teenagers every hour throughout the day – you have so much influence over them. Think about it: You spend so much more time with them, sometimes even more than their own parents do. Your visibility is great, and the impact you can have on them is huge.
As a teacher, you could just be a good person and let that rub off on the students – that’s cool.
But as Christians, there’s more we can do. There can be real, life-changing impact.
Teachers, know that you are going to have people in your classes who are broken or who come from broken families. They come from a neighborhood of drugs, they come from poverty, they come from homelessness. Some students come from places where none of that exists. Maybe they don’t have any idea that this is going on in the world.
So you have all these different students in your class and your job as a public school educator is to impact them.
The challenge is great because you can’t just preach the gospel in the class. If you do that you’ll lose your credential. They you’ll have to read a different article called, “How do I get a job.”
But what you can do is you can love on them, you can care for them, you can lead them as a role model. You can support them and be the shoulder to cry on.
Remember you’re dealing with students who might come from broken families. They’ve never understood the concept of love, mercy, or grace because they’ve never had it before. So on Mondays, you have the opportunity to that for a child. You can be the first person to say, “Hey, I really like having you in my class. Sure, you talk a lot, but you say some pretty brilliant things, and I just want to let you know you’re pretty special.”
It could be the first time they’re hearing that. And they think, “Wow, somebody’s actually nice to me.”
The next time you can say, “I really liked what you said in my class. Why don’t you share that with the group?”, you’re building confidence and a relationship.
In my 12-13 years as a teacher, time and time again, people say to me, “Hey Mr. Jung, why are you doing that for me?”
Those are lob balls for you to have a Gospel conversation with people. How much easier does it get than that. People are actually asking you, “What is the reason why you are showing me grace?”
They don’t name it grace because they don’t even know what it’s called. But that’s an opportunity.
Robby is currently a local high school assistant principal after spending time as an English teacher, department coordinator, and basketball coach. He has been an educator in various contexts including urban/inner-city and suburban high schools. He also serves as an elder and the worship director at Living Hope Community Church in Brea, CA. He received both his bachelor's (English) and master’s (Education) degrees from UCLA. Robby is happily married to Grace, and they love spending time with their two sons: Jeremiah and Joshua. In his free time, he loves playing and watching sports with his family, making music, and hanging out with his closest friends.