Teachers are precious in the sight of the Lord. The ministry of teaching in our schools calls for much dedication and sacrifice. The typical teacher in our educational system continually makes an immense contribution by molding the minds of our children and young adults to be men and women who appreciate the moral values that will propel them to excel in this life and be prepared for the life to come.
The teachers in the educational system of the Seventh-day Adventist Church perform a labor of love for the students they serve. They use the limited resources provided to them to produce outstanding results. Throughout our K-12 system and also at the college and university levels, it is amazing what our teachers are able to accomplish given the limited resources with which they have to work. Many of us have benefited from the educational system of the church at various points of our lives, without having adequate preparation. Nevertheless, the teachers and administrators worked with us, and, by God’s grace, we were able to achieve beyond our expectations.
Teachers have a significant influence on the lives of their students. Because of the amount of time afforded them to spend with the students, teachers help shape the direction of their lives. I can remember my first-grade teacher, and several others, who made an unforgettable impression on my life. Some students even try to emulate their teachers’ styles of behaving and relating to the world around them. Therefore, we acknowledge and respect our teachers who, outside of parents and caregivers, are positioned to have the most lasting influence on our children.
Ellen G. White counseled, “The great work of parents and teachers is character building—seeking to restore the image of Christ in those placed under their care. A knowledge of the sciences sinks into insignificance beside this great aim; but all true education may be made to help in the development of a righteous character. The formation of character is the work of a lifetime, and it is for eternity. If all could realize this, and would awake to the fact that we are individually deciding our own destiny and the destinies of our children for eternal life or eternal ruin, what a change would take place! How differently would our probationary time be occupied, and with what noble characters would our world be filled!”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 61. From this perspective, teachers in our schools are evangelists in every sense.
We owe a debt of gratitude to our teachers, especially those who teach within the Seventh-day Adventist school system, who are not compensated as well as their counterparts in the public school system. However, they make great sacrifices to ensure that their students receive the best opportunities for success in this world and are prepared for the next! As stated by Ellen G. White, “In the highest sense the work of education and the work of redemption are one, for in education, as in redemption, ‘other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ’”—Education, p. 30.
Let us celebrate our teachers for their dedication, commitment, and the sacrifices they are making to educate our children while helping them to build Christlike characters that will last for eternity. We must continue to honor and treasure our teachers and pray for them as they aid in the construction of a better society.