My journey to worship has recently taken me to the classroom. I found out as never before how children can bring you a good dose of humility. Being a teacher is often hard work though rewarding. But being a substitute teacher is even harder in many ways. Your students don’t respect you for many reasons. They figure if you were a good teacher you would have a full time job somewhere. And they know that they won’t have you for very long so why should they listen to you.
I just spent 3 months as a long term substitute teacher at a public high school in Maryland. While it was fun and exciting because I was doing music and working with children it was anything but easy. There are so so many emails to answer every day. There are all these abbreviations and acronyms – UBD, GT, etc. There is software for taking attendance and software for recording grades. But you have to transfer the grades from the one software and place them in the other. UGH!!! There is creating a sectional schedule and making sure the students and staff have it. Then you have to remind the students to come and when they don’t remind them to do make up sectionals. There’s scheduling outside time to rehearse students for All State chorus auditions and GT (Gifted and Talented) choir. There’s so much more but I’m just getting tired thinking about it!
Of course there’s teaching class. And then there’s performing. Extra rehearsals, hiring an accompanist and scheduling rehearsal with them. (I’m getting tired and stressed again)
But you may ask, “David, what does this have to do with worship?”
In the book of Hebrews I’ve found a quote to live by especially while being a substitute teacher.
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Heb. 10:24
The “Real” teacher may receive more respect than the sub, but it’s really a team effort. The permanent music teacher wants their choirs, bands, or orchestras to sound great when they return and so they want the students to cooperate with the sub to learn their music. So I focused on one thing: Loving them more.
There were days when the disrespect I encountered hurt me. And I prayed. And a voice whispered, “You don’t love them enough.” It didn’t matter that I was in public school and couldn’t “Share my faith.” All that was needed was for me to habitually love them more and more. To keep trying to prepare and present my best. To engage even with those who hurt me and to notice and share that I noticed the little things about each student under my care. If a student was missing to check on them. If invited to a student’s event to really try to go. And I prayed for them.
The amazing thing was all the love that came back. Students made cards and carmel apple slices and gave me other gifts as well. One class even took a picture and had one of the students draw it as the cover to the card they gave me-that’s the photo on this blog post. And they told me how much they appreciated my teaching. So today I want to challenge you as the verse says to acts of love and good works. Your job, your marriage, your situation may seem hopeless, but I bet you can love more. You can love more. You really can. I dare you to try and out love JESUS!