Having a child of your own doesn’t automatically make you a better teacher. It does not make you a worse teacher either, but it does offer a perspective that is impossible to understand if you are not a parent who teaches in the classroom. Even if you are the most empathetic and compassionate of individuals, having a kid just shift things in your mind a bit.
For me, it has made a pretty significant impact, mostly in my tone when correcting a child. I think so often, what if this was my son? I’ve been teaching for 6 years so far. I can think of a lot of times I have been inspirational and spurred on students to be great. Unfortunately, I can think of times I have been just plain mean to kids. In anger, times I’ve raised my voice to an uncomfortable level, times I’ve intentionally embarrassed or shamed a kid for being rude or disrespectful towards me or another student. I can think of times I’ve been so fed up with a student that when they wanted to apologize I have just shook my head an pointed to the door. Man, when I read it back I sound horrible.
Here’s where holding my 11-month-old son and thinking about my classroom explodes in my head. I hope my son grows up to be respectful and kind to students and teachers. But maybe he makes a bad decision, hangs out the with the wrong kids for a while at school or lets pride get the best of him when being redirected and he talks back to his teacher?
I don’t want his teacher to get in his face, or embarrass him in front of his classmates, or hang their head and point to the door if he goes to apologize. All things that I’ve done before. Shoot.
So now, just a hope that I may be gracious and peace-filled as a teacher when things are going well and when things are not. For Christ followers, what an example we have in Jesus who could have come down to knock us back into line, embarrass and shame us in our sin or hang his head in disappointment, but he didn’t. Even though we deserved it.
But God proves his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.