Reflections of a First Year Teacher: “What does it mean to Educate?”

…When a desired goal is in mind, then a person is in a position to think in terms of the relative values of various methodologies that will aid in reaching a destination.” – George R. Knight

Teaching is one of the most valuable and rewarding professions in existence. It perfects selflessness and is fertile ground for public servants.

While being emotionally draining, physically demanding (especially at pep rallies), mentally stimulating but also exhausting, teachers show up every day to try it again. It is a roller coaster ride that requires the maximization of communication techniques, only to realize that many days fall short. It is the gift of working with God’s children as they begin to ask some of life’s hardest questions. It is the responsibility to not take lightly the potential of their future.


Some days (Mondays), life kicks you in the gut and you try your best not to transfer that emotion on to your kids, only to find out that life has been kicking them all week.

The kids grow and B.O arrives, awkward flirting happens all around with the occasional fight, no doubt connected to the prior. We are deluged with *new* articles from every teaching organization about the *newest* method, all the while attempting to answer the same question of old: “What does it mean to Educate?”

Personally, attempting to answer this question has been one of my favorite parts of teaching. This question is fascinating! It has so many answers and the answer seems to change from day to day and year to year. I believe this is largely why the pendulum continues to swing; We cannot seem to agree on the right answer to Education. As new representatives are elected and new Superintendents hired, in comes a new answer to the question, thus a new pedagogical strategy applied at large to some who disagree with the *new* answer and to others who agree.

I cannot overstate how amazing this is to me. I am not sure why, but it is the moving target of our society. It is the question that does not go away and we are each convinced that we have the right answer.

I have learned most that, although the schoolhouse differs in many ways from the Church, humans have the same responses and patterns, no matter the place of work. With a new Pastor often comes a new way of ministry and the same is with a new Principal. You would think that Christianity, with its’ one central book, would be a no-brainer, but we have to realize that the same problem exists in the church as the Bible is interpreted differently from church to church, and from denomination to denomination etc. It boils down to what we think is most effective.

Questions to ponder…

How does this personal interpretation hurt both the church and the school? Is curricular commonality amongst the nation’s institutions a bad thing? How does discernment play into our vocation? Should we actively discern our activities in work as reverently as we do in our religious practice?