The Most Important Work
By Kylee Wray Mitchell
“Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” (1 Thessalonians 4:11).
I’ve heard it said, sarcastically of course, that we go into teaching for the money and the fame.
While educators will never be actual celebrities (unless you count running into our students at the grocery store), our profession is a constant topic of conversation for the public. Everyone has an opinion about what we should or should not be doing.
“Teachers aren’t doing enough for my at-home learner.”
“Teachers are expecting too much from my student at a time like this.”
“Teachers must go back to work and make everything as normal as possible for our kids.”
“Teachers need to…”
“Teachers should be…”
Unlike other essential workers that have faced this crazy year, teachers can’t seem to do anything right. And, if I’m being completely honest with you, it was like that before COVID-19. Being an educator is often a thankless job.
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it” (Matthew 10:39).
Those of us who became teachers because the Lord called us to the profession, we don’t mind the noise of the public. Teachers are called to live the life of a servant. Nothing that happens in our classrooms has anything to do with us. It’s all for the good of our students.
Anytime I hear something from the outside world about what I “should” be doing or what I am “not” doing enough of, I just let it roll off my back. I can do that because I know that I’m doing God’s work. I might not be allowed to say that in my classroom, but I can know it in my heart.
Every time I meet a student’s attitude with grace.
Every time I respond to a student’s confusion with patience.
Every time I greet my tired, sad-faced students with a joyful “Good morning!”
They see a tiny glimpse of the Lord that lives in me. By serving them, I am serving Him. There’s no need to get defensive and frustrated with misconceptions from the outside world. Our work is between us, our God, and our kids.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:40).
So, teacher friends, the next time you see a social media post from a venting parent, keep scrolling.
The next time expectations are raised even higher in a faculty meeting, take a deep breath.
The next time a politician speaks about what’s best for schools, but never what is best for teachers, don’t let anger find a foothold.
Get up. Go to work. Help a child. And remember why we do what we do. Remember who we serve and that He never misses a thing. Find peace in the small moments when your classroom door is shut, and it’s just you and your students.
I assure you, His “well done” is worth more than a million accolades from society. His is the only approval we will ever need.
My love to you all. ❤️
I am a high school English teacher in southern central Alabama. I am originally from a small town in north Alabama called Arab, but after meeting my husband in college, I never moved back. We have been married for 8 years and have 3 children—Luke, Caroline, and Lincoln. I have been teaching for 5 years now, and it is one of the greatest joys in my life.