Last month I had the privilege of speaking at the Hillsong South Africa BUILD Leadership Seminar. I spoke about the influence of teachers in the lives of students. If we are going to build a nation, we must equip our teachers for the important work that they do.
Our work as teachers is significant. It is more than just turning up for work each day to teach the learners who come to our classroom. Our work extends beyond the necessity of teaching the foundations of literacy and numeracy as essential as this is. This cannot be underestimated, yet it is just the beginning of something larger, as large as the lives of the children, the people we do life with each day.
How can we expect a child to be in the right frame of mind for learning, when perhaps he so she is hungry, or has been working since 4am beginning on a train, or perhaps has been sexually abused by a member of her family the night before? This is the story I am told by the teachers I work with in India, and now also by some of the educators I have met in Cape Town.
Jesus commissioned His disciples to ‘go out into the world.’ I have been privileged to meet and talk to educators who feel the weight of this commission. So many share a deep commitment and dedication to be the very best teacher that they can possibly be. These teachers understand that their work changes the lives of learners. They are equipping children with a sense of belief for the future and they are equipping them with the skills and mindsets that give kids a head start.
Most us of do not remember what our teachers taught us exactly, but we do remember the influential teachers in our lives. These were the teachers who were kind to us and who believed in us.
The Spheres Build Seminar brought together educators who are passionate about making a difference. There was a tangible hunger in the room that day… it was a hunger for wanting to do more, to be at my best, to join with other teachers to inspire and to spur each other on. These are exciting days, and I believe it’s the beginning of something new. It is usually the case that ‘the answer is in the room’. Educators together, we can equip each other to grow and strengthen our influence. This influence is all about the valuable individuals we have in our classrooms, our influence changes lives. It starts with relationships and it grows from there, extending beyond the four walls of our classrooms.