May 22, 2017
The last few weeks of school are always packed with seemingly endless details to take care of as we close the school year. This week is no different as teachers in the upper grades prepare their students for finals and the elementary teachers put the finishing touches on each subject the students have studied during the year. Currently, our seniors are traveling in Iceland on their senior trip and will return to Miami this week in time for graduation rehearsal on Friday, and graduation day on Sunday. All in all, it is a very exciting climax to a very busy year. As we end this school year, excitement is building for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of our school during the 2017-18 school year, and the unveiling of the SMAART21 project and campaign. (More information on this exciting project to come soon!!)
As I reflect on this process, which takes place every year, I know that the influence of godly teachers on our students is such an amazing opportunity as well as a responsibility. We have the opportunity to have students come into our classrooms each year from different backgrounds, who possess different learning styles, and certainly different types of family backgrounds, and teach all of them the truths of God’s Word and about our personal experience with Jesus Christ. For some of our students we become one of the most influential people they have ever had in their life. What an amazing thought, and what a great responsibility. Each year during our teacher appreciation week several of our faculty were honored for their outstanding work this school year. This year’s Teacher of the Year awards went to: Helen Garner, PK-K; Sarah Gruhn , Elementary; Jeanine Stemmer, Middle School; and Jimmy Erwin, High School. Grace Casanas received the Servant’s Heart award. Congratulations to each of them for a job well done.
Do you remember the story in the Bible where Jesus met a man who had been blind from birth? His disciples immediately asked Jesus, “…who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:2. I’m sure each year, as each of us as teachers evaluate the new group of students coming into the classrooms, we receive a “word” from a parent or peer giving their perspective of that student based on last year or some previous experience they had or heard about with this student. “Surely this child hasn’t received all of the academic background they need to be successful” or maybe “this student’s parents just aren’t supportive of the school and the teacher.” Jesus told his disciples, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life,” John 9:3. Jesus used the opportunity to dispute a widely held belief that a person’s blindness and other afflictions was caused by some sin in the person’s life. So rather than focus on the man’s blindness, Jesus focused on the man’s needs. How much do you think the blind man knew about Jesus when he met him? I can’t imagine that he knew very much. So what did he know about Jesus that would cause him to go down to a dirty public bathing area and wash some mud out of his eyes. Jesus did not produce some magic clay, nor was there any healing power in the waters of Siloam. Jesus simply allowed the man to demonstrate his faith. But the real story is that somewhere between meeting Jesus and being healed, this man was convinced that Jesus cared for him so much that he would heal him. No matter what he might have heard about Jesus before, he demonstrated that he believed Jesus really cared about him.
Consider this, maybe the opportunity we have each year in our Christian school to demonstrate to our students that we care about them might be an appointment by God to reach that student who needed that one teacher to reach out to them, just like this man who had an appointment with Jesus. The blind man was born to be healed by Jesus. I believe that some of our teachers have received students into their classroom this year who were “born” to be influenced by that teacher. Many of our students have received Jesus as their Savior this year and our teachers have been instrumental in bringing them to Jesus. There is no greater influence we can have on an individual life.
I am so grateful for our teachers and I thank them so much for another great year, but mostly, I appreciate them for focusing on the needs of the students who walk into their classrooms every day. The blind man trusted Jesus to do what he said he would do, even though all of the people believed his blindness was the result of sin. Our students have experienced that kind of trust in their life and our teachers have met the needs in so many their lives. Truly there can be no greater calling than to be the instrument God uses in a child’s life to give them the chance to become what God wants them to be.
FCS PATRIOT teachers are AWESOME!!