A Teacher Who Smiles

image“But the LORD said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?””
Jonah 4:10-11 NKJV

I catch myself frustrated with my students sometimes. Is it normal human behavior to loose your temper once in awhile? Of course… But that is the flesh side.
When I first started teaching, I had a teacher assistant that spoke English and Khmer. She honestly was the greatest! Then she left and I got a new one… Still she was really good… I had her for about 2 weeks… Then she left. Now I am teaching on my own… And the Lord is working on an area in my life that I never expected. These teachers helped translate what I was saying to the kids, that way they could understand better what I was teaching them. Now they don’t even listen at times. The other day I couldn’t take it, and I almost left the room crying… My eyes definitely teared up for sure. I was blinded by anger on this day. I was trying to teach, but it felt like herding cats.  They wouldn’t stop talking and I tried everything I was taught. Yet I couldn’t control my frustration. Nothing I did could make them stop talking, it was insane.
I was giving a practice test… Having them write the word when they hear it. One of the words that I chose was smile… as soon as I said “next word is Smile.” The Lord hit me… How can you teach these kids smile when you are not evening smiling? How can you show Me when all they can see is the anger coming from you? Smile Nicole, all they want or need is someone to care about them. Someone to say good job.
Some days I feel like Jonah “Lord why me? Why am I here? Me teaching them Elevator is not going to tell them about Jesus.” It’s not about the words that get them saved or even if I do see them get saved. It’s simply saying hey…. My actions and the way I love God is going to be watched. They are going to see that there was something different about this foreigner teacher. She was always smiling… Everything I do I want to be doing it for the Lord and not for my own intentions. Their time in school might be the only time in their lives that they can see Jesus. The rest of the time they might only see rudeness and hatred all too often. Maybe when they are older they might look back and say, “I want what that teacher had, she was always smiling and she was always kind.” But I have Jesus and I love these kids with my whole heart. In the end these kids are the little light in my life. They always turn my day around with their smiles and their little jokes. I wouldn’t ask for another class.

A: I will give each of my students a hug and I will pray when I start to feel stress and anger sneaking into my actions.

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