Teaching has been nothing short of incredible. I can hardly believe that we are almost finished with the first half of the school semester! I have been so humbled in many ways these past few months. My eyes have been opened to just how incredible teaching truly is.
It’s been incredible in the sense of how much my relationship and view of God the Father has changed as I learn to see these kids through His eyes and not be quick to my own frustration or irritation. Coming in, I had this silly idea that my students would already know how to be nice to one another or how to choose kindness. The first few months with my students have been a little rough in this regard. My kids were constantly arguing with each other, name calling, picking or touching each other. I found my patience growing thinner and thinner. However, I believe that what Satan meant to bring me down, God meant to strengthen me and show me a new side of His love.
I have been praying that the Lord would allow me to discipline these kids well and not be quick to say, “stop it” or “don’t do that”, but that I would be able to teach them why we do not hit and why kindness is important. I am learning to share the gospel with my students in disciplining them. In that, the Lord has revealed to me that this is what he does for me, as His child, daily. I sin and I fail him over and over, but He is not quick to anger or frustration with me. He teaches me and shows me the correct way. Thus, teaching is strengthening me and allowing me to see these kids through God’s loving and forgiving eyes.
Teaching has also been incredible simply because I never knew how much love I could truly attain for these kids. Sometimes, I feel my heart wanting to explode because of the love I didn’t even know I could feel for my precious students. They overwhelm me with their sweet hugs and words of affirmation daily. Not a day goes by that they don’t tell me how much they love me, how happy they are that I am their teacher or how beautiful they think I am. My students come from vastly different homes. I have some students that have grown up in a loving, Christian home, others that have grown up in a devoCatholiclic home and a few that don’t have much religious background at all and the only Jesus they hear is the Jesus we teach about in school. God has opened up my heart for them in crazy ways, and each one of them has such a special place in my heart. I’ve always heard people say that teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs and I am starting to understand why.
Finally, teaching has been incredible in that I never knew I could be stretched and have grown so much in such little time. I knew that teaching would be difficult and draining. But quite honestly, It has not been stretching in the ways I assumed it would be. I feel stretched in how much I truly desire to meet their needs right where they are at. My students are at such different academic levels. I have some students on a kindergarten level and some at 4th grade level. I am learning how to meet my students where they are at and that in itself had been long and draining with all the work, research, and preparation that goes into it. But I have a wonderful support system and team here that has made it easier and seeing the looks on my students face when they grasp a concept makes it all worth it.
If you’d like to support Philem as she serves with GEM in Mexico, you can do so HERE. You can also contact her directly to talk further about what it means to be on her support team and find out how you can be praying for her!