7 Ways to Make a Difference in the Lives of the Children You Teach

Marvae EikanasTeaching

I don’t know about you, but for me, waiting is hard. That can be one of the tricky things about teaching – you don’t always see the results right away. And sometimes you never see the results! That doesn’t mean that there aren’t results, it just means that the fruit of my efforts are not always something I am able to witness first hand.

The trouble is that results are motivating to me! It urges me towards my goals and makes the hard work, challenges, and all that good stuff worth it.

That’s why it is so important to remember that relationships are central to life; first my relationship with God and then my relationship with others, including the children God places in my classroom.

When I am regularly engaging with God and savoring His presence in my life it changes everything. It changes what’s important to me, how I see things, and I can rest knowing that the results are up to Him. He opens my eyes to new possibilities and some sweet surprises as well.

And it is out of my relationship with Him that the Spirit can use me to love on the children in my classroom and make a difference in their lives.

Want to make a difference in the lives of the children you teach? It all starts long before you step into the classroom! Here are 7 ways to be a more influential teacher:

1. Carve out space for God daily

If you have ever been in love, you know how much you crave the one you love! You can hardly wait until the next time you can be together. You think about them incessantly even when you aren’t together. They occupy your thoughts. God wants us to desire Him in that same way.

I am often surprised by how many Christians I meet who do not spend time regularly with God. Matthew 22:37 tells us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” It is hard to love anyone that way when you don’t spend time with them and get to know them in a deeper way. And just like being in love changes how you go through your day, so does spending time with the One who loves you most!

 Making moments with God a regular part of your day and then remaining aware of His presence with you throughout the day has a powerful effect on your life; and on how you show up in the classroom.

 2. Pray regularly

There is power in prayer – incredible power! Do you believe that? Really believe it? I hope so! Not only do the children in your classroom need your prayers, praying for someone also changes you in the process.

 3. Make a plan & be willing to flex

Planning is essential when it comes to teaching and along with planning goes prepping. The best teachers plan, however, even with a plan, things can go awry for the most experienced teacher. Unexpected surprises like a child throwing up, or tired kids struggling to behave, or even my own mood can mess with my plans! At times that can be incredibly disappointing, especially when you are particularly excited about your lesson or put in extra time to prep.

And there are those teachable moments that pop up out of nowhere that are like a little gift from God that you can’t ignore, but deviate from your intended plan.

Those are the moments you need God to remind you how to best flex and show His love. Yes, planning is necessary, but even more important; I need to be dependent on God. It is easy to rely more on my planning abilities than I do God. The most rewarding teaching moments come when I embrace setbacks or opportunities and make room for God. Learn to take a step back, breathe, and ask God for wisdom and direction.

4. Study & apply

When life is busy it is tempting to skim the lesson and whip out a plan. While this quick planning allows you to check it off your list, it robs you of the opportunity to delve deeper into scripture and grasp what God wants to show you. No matter what age child you are preparing a lesson for, there is something in it for you! Slow down, study, and take the time to apply the lesson to your own life. You might make it a part of your quiet time, or set aside time during each week to dig a little deeper. You will be surprised by how the lessons become more meaningful and how it changes how you communicate with the children.

5. Take a genuine interest in the children

Rather than viewing your class as a group, get to know the children as individuals. That personal attention makes all the difference! Children are quite perceptive – they know when you genuinely care. And when they know you care – you are an influential presence in their lives.

6. Improve your skills

Even the best teachers can improve their skills. In fact, it is the best teachers who are eagerly seeking ways to grow as a teacher. Discovering and practicing better ways to manage your classroom, ask better questions, or transition from activity to activity more effectively are just a few of the ways you can enhance your teaching skills.

7. Aim for purpose over perfection

When your goal is to make a difference in children’s lives, perfection can take a back seat. Striving to run a perfect classroom is not only frustrating, but impossible. Learn how to make the best of each moment and make the children your focus. Besides, perfection is overrated! Kids’ aren’t charmed by your perfection they are attracted to you when you are authentic.

The opportunity to influence children is a powerful one! You never know how God might use you to change the life of a child and how that child might go on to make a difference for the Kingdom! What a shame it would be to limit your influence or waste such a great opportunity.

What needs to change for you to be a more influential teacher?

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