A Tribute to Teachers

By: Brett Gustafson

This past Monday, May 2nd, marked the beginning of the annual Teacher Appreciation Week at South Lancaster Academy. The week, which is traditionally honored by the school’s administration and parents with various small gift, serves as a much deserved pat on the back for our school’s hard working teachers.

The concept is certainly valid. After all, teachers are, without a doubt, in the hardest, most important field of work that exists. They have the biggest role in educating, and often the primary role in inspiring, future generations. The citizens that we will become are directly related to the education that we’ve received from teachers along the way. Through careful thought, dedicated action, and countless words of encouragement, teachers have nurtured us for a promising future.

This role becomes exponentially important in the realm of Adventist education. Not only do teachers have the obligation to inspire individual thinkers who can succeed in the ever growing economy, they also have the crucial role in training up a child for eternity. Adventist teachers serve as reflections of our Savior, Jesus Christ. They portray Jesus to the impressionable minds of our students. In a world that often focuses too heavily on temporary vanities, it is the job and pleasure of our teachers to explain and exemplify the very fragile line of physically living in the world and mentally preparing for the kingdom of God.

The teachers spend over seven hours a day with the kids. That’s four hundred twenty minutes to help build a child’s walk with God. That’s over twenty five thousand seconds to encourage a personal relationship with Christ. And, though change is often in too small of increments to measure with a ruler, I can personally look back and see what a difference that my Adventist teachers have had on me.

The statement, “With great responsibility comes great reward” is a common, accepted natural law in today’s economy. What’s ironic, however, is that teachers, who spend nearly every waking moment doing some sort of school related task (whether it be teaching, grading, lesson plans, etc), are, as a whole, some of the most underpaid, under-appreciated individuals in the workforce.

While the Adventist system does a superb job of providing great benefits such as health insurance and subsidy to their employees, it’s an earthly impossibility to pay denominational teachers the amount of money that they deserve, or even the amount offered in the public system. And, while the “Great is your reward in Heaven” concept does help to stifle the burn of a low paycheck, it cannot be denied that our teachers are not getting the amount of appreciation that they deserve.

This week, which is approximately 1/45 of the school year, is meant to serve as a period of remembrance, as well as an opportunity to display a small token of our appreciation to the teachers that have given so much of themselves to our school and our community. It would be a real shame if all that we did was done out of vain tradition.

This year, why don’t we, as individuals who have been impacted by or, at the very least, seen impacts as a result of these teachers, go out of our way to show genuine appreciation. Our small gifts, whether they be letters, lunches, or words of gratitude, go a long way in ensuring that our teachers feel accomplished. Appreciation is a state of mind, not a yearly tradition. We should go out of our way to appreciate our teachers every chance we get.

In closing, we can never return an adequate measure of the debt that we owe to our teachers. Their personal impact in our future, both on this earth and in Heaven, is immeasurable.  And, while there will certainly be thousands of stars in their crowns for the souls that they saved in the world to come, it doesn’t hurt to give them a little taste of Heaven with our personal appreciation.

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Posted on May 17, 2011, in Top Stories. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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