In the weeks leading up to the start of school this season, my thoughts have turned to the teachers who have impacted my life. My father was a teacher for a while, a professor at Ohio State University. He extended that into the home, never missing an opportunity to tell a story from history, explain a chemical reaction, or teach me a new word in German. From my father I picked up an enthusiasm for learning that I never lost.
I tried my best to learn from my schoolteachers, which aggravated certain school mates who had words for that kind of thing. The different teaching styles and mannerisms were lessons themselves on the variety of ways people learn about and see the world. Often the most effective teachers were also the ones who seemed to care the most about the students. Certain teachers made you want to do your best because you could see they were giving you their best.
In explaining the mission God had given him, Isaiah the prophet said, “The Lord has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word” (Isaiah 50:4). When God came to be with us on earth, of all human possibilities he came as Jesus of Nazareth, a rabbi and teacher. Along with God’s law, He taught the love that lay behind it. “You call me Teacher and Lord,” he said one evening after washing the feet of his surprised students. “I’m setting an example for you to do as I have done to you” (John 13:13-16).
Coronavirus has put our teachers on the “front lines” as never before. My son, a music teacher at Tampa Fine Arts Academy, is one of them. In my conversations with educators at various levels, I hear dedication wrestling with concerns, passion contending with uncertainties. Please join me in thanking all our teachers and school employees this year. May God keep them healthy and hopeful, with the only thing contagious being their love and passion for learning.
Pastor Scott Lindner
Atonement Lutheran Church
Wesley Chapel, Florida