Sometimes when I go out to a restaurant I will ask the server if there is anything I can pray with him or her about. The last young lady I asked wanted prayer for her son who was in fifth grade; he was having a tough time in school.
When she mentioned he was in fifth grade, my mind and heart were immediately transported back to my son’s fifth grade days. He struggled a lot that year; so much that I withdrew him from school and homeschooled him for the next three and a half years.
My similar experience provided instant empathy. When I finished praying she said I touched on all the points she needed prayer for.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
2 Corinthians 1:4 New Living TranslationHoly Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Not only do I remember what it’s like to be the mother of a fifth-grader, I remember what it’s like to be a fifth grader. I still have vivid memories of my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Pierce. Do you remember your fifth grade teacher? If so, what makes them so memorable?
I remember Mrs. Pierce, not because she was beautiful or stylish or quirky. She was really none of those things. Mrs. Pierce was a portly woman. She had wavy, white hair. She wore glasses and skirts with suntan panty hose and old lady shoes.
I remember her because she was a woman who had a relationship with God and everyone knew it.
Mrs. Pierce’s desk was in the front of the class right next to the chalkboard; not in the back or to the side; right in the middle where she could keep an eye on us!
On her desk was a humongous, hardbound Bible; and she read some of it to us every day! She didn’t read Numbers or Leviticus or Revelation. She read the adventure stories like: Noah, Joshua, Daniel and Jonah. Mrs. Pierce also had a plaque of the 10 Commandments on her classroom wall. Mrs. Pierce was firm, but kind. Mrs. Pierce was only my school teacher for one year- Fifth grade. But she continued to teach and influence me throughout my days at Emmalena Elementary.
For example, one year in 7th grade, I decided to try to earn a free trip to Camp Nathanael. In order to earn the trip I had to complete seven Bible lessons. A bright, pink card was inserted into the middle of each lesson. There were 100 Bible questions on each card, and the answers could only be found by searching the Bible. (There was no such thing as Google in those days!) I remember thinking how tough those questions were! Each week toward the end of the school day, a representative from Camp Nathanael would meet me, and the other would-be-campers, one at a time in the hallway outside our classroom. They would go over the lesson and make sure we had answered all 100 questions. Mrs. Pierce was the representative. I saw her once a week for seven weeks and again she was sharing the Bible with me. I finished all the lessons and earned the free trip to summer camp and a Bible that was signed by Mrs. Pierce herself. It was my very first Bible and I still have it!
The last time I saw Mrs. Pierce was near the end of 8th grade. I was at home in my living room. There was a knock at the door and I didn’t want to answer it. It was Mrs. Pierce. I didn’t want to answer because I skipped school quite a bit that year. Reluctantly I opened the door. Mrs. Pierce came in and sat down on the couch with me. She didn’t yell or threaten me. She made no mention of even speaking to my mom. She simply promised if I came back to school and attended for the rest of the year, I would still be promoted to high school. I didn’t follow her advice. I was much too wrapped up in The Days of Our Lives and Bo and Hope’s love story. (There were no DVR’s in those days.)
We moved that summer from Kentucky to Florida. I went through the 8th grade again at Stone Middle School in Melbourne. I passed and went on to graduate from Vero Beach High School. I’ve had many wonderful school teachers over the years, but none of them have encouraged me in my faith the way Mrs. Pierce did.
The school system has changed drastically since I was in school. Teachers are not allowed to openly share their faith the way they were when I was in fifth grade.
If you are a Christian who teaches in a public school and wonders if or how it is possible to share your faith with your students, Focus on The Family has an article that will answer many of the questions you may have.https://www.focusonthefamily.com/bring-your-bible/for-parents/can-christian-teachers-express-their-faith-in-public-schools/: Fifth Grade
The job you do is not just a job, it is a calling. Continue to draw close to God for the sake of your relationship with Him. Seek Him in the morning and allow Him to overwhelm you with His love so you won’t be overwhelmed by the challenges of the day. Live out your faith as much as it depends with you, producing the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control.
If you have a less than “fruitful” day:
- Be honest to your students and peers
- Apologize if appropriate
- Repent if necessary
- Begin again
And always remember this verse:
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
Galatians 6:9 New Living TranslationHoly Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.