Teacher Life: What I’ve Got Going For Me

It’s not like the whole world is against me. Just a few key people in it. Namely, the moms of my students.

Never having met me (until this Wednesday), they became quite good at criticizing my every move and making life rather stressful for my co-teacher (who communicates with them regularly) and my principal (who also began receiving their calls of complaint). Having gotten wind of this development, I simply tried not to let it bother me. So what if they thought I was doing a terrible job? So what if it eventually led to my removal? All I could do was continue to give my best to the kids.

It isn’t easy to step into a new role, in which you are bound to make some mistakes, when you know people are watching you, just waiting for you to slip up.

But sensitive, people-pleasing me has actually become quite tough in the past few weeks. Pushing forward despite the realities of disapproval and the possibilities of failure. Pushing forward because HE sent me to love and teach these kids and I knew it would be wrong to back down.

Then I found out I had to meet the moms. All 12 of them. On Wednesday.

My principal made it very clear to me that quite a lot was riding on this 2-3 minute meeting.

If I didn’t succeed in making a good impression, I could very well end up being replaced, at the moms’ demand. To say I was nervous as I rehearsed my little speech would be an understatement. But once again, as I’ve found time and again these past 3 weeks, I found supernatural peace surrounding me, too (especially after a couple co-workers prayed for me that morning). I knew I could handle it. I knew everything was going to be fine.

The meeting went pretty well, I think.

I was myself. I expressed my enthusiasm for teaching and for teaching their children. I saw some positive reactions, and there was even brief laughter at the end when I said their kids were “full of energy.” But there were also many unresponsive, guarded faces in that room. And afterwards, when a bunch of kids got completely lost during grammar class, I felt like a failure.

Why couldn’t I stop giving the moms more reason to doubt me? Why couldn’t I just be perfect at this thing I’ve never done before?

But last night, as I was reading Proverbs, I came across this verse:

“A kindhearted woman gains honor.”
Proverbs 11:16

I instantly knew it was for me. I may make mistakes now and then as a new teacher, not explain concepts perfectly or forget to remind my students of things that I should, but one thing I can always say with 100% confidence is that I am kindhearted. That is always true. (And I’m pretty sure all the moms couldn’t help but see that when they met me.)

I felt God speaking directly to me through this verse, Honor is your portion. Not because of your academic qualifications, inspired teaching methods, or impressive abilities, but because of your heart.

I can’t even describe the depth of comfort I received from those words.

Sometimes I feel like my heart doesn’t matter. Only results. Only my qualifications, or lack thereof. That’s all the moms can see. That’s all my boss cares about. But God reminded me that not only does He see and value my heart, but so do people. So do these moms. It’s because of my heart that I am going to receive honor, even from them.

My co-teacher told me after school today that one of the moms said that she really liked my face, that after seeing my face yesterday, she decided she really liked me.

Awesome. 1 down. 11 more to go.



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Elizabeth is a teacher, preacher, musician, and writer. She has a Master's of Divinity and a Master's of Music, which represent her two great loves: Jesus and the arts. A half-Korean, half-white American, she spent seven years in South Korea teaching English. Elizabeth is a perpetual learner, a deep feeler, and a pursuer of beauty and truth.

4 thoughts on “Teacher Life: What I’ve Got Going For Me

  1. Trials! It must be so hard, but what faith and hope you have in God. You’re doing a fine job persevering through this! May God continue to pour out His favor and mercy on you. And may He turned the hearts of these other 11 perhaps over zealous moms’ hearts.

  2. Elizabeth! This post was such a blessing to Kirstin and me! We’ve also been stressing about work this week and we know how those Korean moms can be…but this is exactly what we needed to read tonight. Thank you so much for sharing this and being so open and honest.

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