12/24/2017

Brandon Leitnaker

 

For any of you who are or have been teachers, you know that teaching is much more than just giving instruction on a particular topic. Teaching is truly holistic in nature. What I mean by that is teaching someone often entails a whole lot more than just making sure the person understands the information. That is just a part of it. A good teacher is not just concerned about the information side of things, but is also purposed to shape the person who is receiving the information. This type of approach to teaching requires patience, flexibility, and resolve. There may even be times when teachers don’t even get around to addressing information. There are other things that behaviorally need to be worked out before someone is primed to receive the information that is being presented. My favorite teachers were always the ones who had a passion for the information and also cared for me as an individual.

 

She never officially has been my teacher, but one of my favorite teachers is my wife. My wife is currently a middle school teacher, but has fulfilled many roles and served many populations of kiddos in her 12 years of teaching. Throughout all of her experiences, she has demonstrated all of the qualities that I mentioned earlier and so much more. I can only describe it as love. Not just any love, but a love that reflects her commitment to the student’s betterment. Each year of teaching that passes, she keeps getting better and better at it.

 

For instance, this year she has a class of students that might make any teacher question their reason for becoming a teacher. The concept of holistic teaching certainly applies in this situation, because a large part of her teaching in this class has been spent on character development. She has worked tirelessly on helping the kids understand boundaries, appropriate social behaviors, the benefits of following directions and rules, and on top of that, she has tried to help the kids understand the human side of teachers. Some kids, for whatever reason, at times will dehumanize teachers and have a difficult time getting past the authority role that teachers play. They forget that teachers are people just like them, with lives and feelings. As a result, they can treat them disrespectfully and say things that are downright cruel. Please hear me, I am in no way trying to paint these kids in a bad light. This is just how some days can go for my wife, and it can leave her feeling pretty exhausted and frustrated.

 

You know what, though? No matter how frustrating it has gotten at times, she has continued to carry on in showing love and perseverance. This year, more than ever, she has been purposed to pray specifically for God to show her how she can best care and minister to the kids He has placed under her. God has truly delivered; He has given her sensitivity to the kids’ needs and some deeper insights into the difficult home lives that these kids can face each day. Her example of asking God to step into her situation, and love despite the difficulty, is so encouraging for me to watch. It reminds me of Psalm 32:8, where God tells us that He will instruct us and teach us in the way we should go, and counsel us with His loving eye on us. I am so thankful for this promise from God, and so blessed to see my wife living a life that aims to imitate this same love.