Cover Feature

How One Teacher Changes the World

As a public school teacher, I am a servant of the people and a servant of my God. To be honest, my initial desire to teach came from a selfish place. I wanted to change the world and touch the future. I wanted to be the elementary teacher that students never forgot and would tell stories about throughout their lives. I wanted to inspire future scientists, inventors, artists, doctors, lawyers, teachers and engineers. I wanted to help shape future generations into lifelong learners and responsible citizens. I wanted the glory of teaching. But my ideas about teaching were very different from the reality I soon encountered. There are adversaries and obstacles; standardized tests and disappearing funds; violence; poverty; neglect; indifference and, most notably, an absence of God in education.

As the years have gone by, I have prayed for my students that they would have the strength they need in life. I realize that the best seven hours of their day might be spent with me, and I want them to be meaningful, safe and worthwhile. My cross hangs on a chain that is tucked inside my shirt. I have been told by administrators not to be too touchy-feely, to avoid hugs and shoulder pats. There are many students I have been told to never be alone with because they have a history of making up stories about teachers in order to get them fired. I have even been told to say, “Bless you,” instead of “God bless you” when a child sneezes in my presence. These conditions only make me more determined to pray, digging deeper for the power to overcome and prevail. Although I no longer teach for the glory, I do still long for the chance to make a difference.

As a public school teacher, I am a servant of the people and a servant of my God. I am a role model, a leader and a safe-keeper.

Our faith can rule in our hearts, but there are places in the world that it cannot be preached or shared with others, at least not explicitly. But still, my thoughts and actions remain directly linked to my Lord. I was born to follow Him. I was born to do His work. I was born with gifts to share with others, thanks to Him. My Savior might seem like my secret at work, but what a secret He is—an ace up my sleeve. In the darkest of moments and the saddest of situations, He is with me, giving me hope and perseverance. He hears my whispered prayers.

I work hard for my students—preparing engaging lessons, giving detailed feedback, scaffolding instruction for further growth and being positive and enthusiastic about learning in hopes of igniting their curiosity and interest. But even though they will never know it, I pray even harder than I work.

As a public school teacher, I am a servant of the people and a servant of my God. I am a role model, a leader and a safe-keeper. I work to preserve innocence and grant courage. I want to promote positive change, empathy and acceptance. I want students to develop a sense of worth and a steadfast conscience. I want the children in my care to know themselves and to recognize their own strengths so they can share them with others and make the world a better place. I want to make God proud, knowing that I am trying with all my heart to use everything that He gave me and complete the mission He has given me. No matter how exhausting or disheartening my work can become, it is dedicated to the Lord. Through Him, all things are possible. Through Him, miracles are made.

GOD HAS GIVEN EACH OF YOU A GIFT FROM HIS GREAT VARIETY OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS. USE THEM WELL TO SERVE ONE ANOTHER. DO YOU HAVE THE GIFT OF SPEAKING? THEN SPEAK AS THOUGH GOD HIMSELF WERE SPEAKING THROUGH YOU. DO YOU HAVE THE GIFT OF HELPING OTHERS? DO IT WITH ALL THE STRENGTH AND ENERGY THAT GOD SUPPLIES. THEN EVERYTHING YOU DO WILL BRING GLORY TO GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. ALL GLORY AND POWER TO HIM FOREVER AND EVER! AMEN. - 1 PETER 4:10-11

Megan Steusloff lives in Sterling Heights, MI.

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