January 31, 2006

Student's Work Ethic

I have this sheet of paper that I hand out to all of my students at least once a year called, Student's Work Ethic. I originally received this handout from Mrs. Smith, a mentor teacher from the first school that I taught at.

She was never officially my mentor, but when I first became a teacher, she took me under her wing and was always there to encourage me and assist me whenever I needed it.

Anyway, she handed me this paper when I was working with a certain student who wasn't doing their homework on a consistent basis. I knew that if this student would just start doing their homework, their grade would increase dramatically.

Once I saw this handout, I knew that it would be something that I could use for a long time. It started with this slightly adjusted paraphrase of Colossians 3:22-24,

(Put your name in the blanks:)

    Student, obey your teachers about everything, not only when the teachers are watching _________________ work, as people-pleasers do, but rather with singleness of heart, fearing the Lord.
    Whatever _________________ does at school, work at it heartily for the Lord and not for the teacher,
    Knowing that from the Lord _________________ will receive an inheritance as a reward. Christ is the Lord for whom _________________ works as a slave!
    Now if _________________ does wrong _________________ will receive what he deserves for his wrongdoing, and there must be no partiality. (J. Adams Translation)

I love this application. There is a connection between real life and spirituality. And if a student can make that connection when they are young, what a blessing that can be.

I didn't make that connection until I was older.

I was loading trailers in a warehouse. I had been doing this for over a year already , and there I was, picking up these boxes off of a cart, stacking them in a trailer, and once I was done with one cart, somebody pushed in another one for me. And once I was done with one trailer, they brought in another one to fill up. And once I was done with one day of this, I knew that I could look forward to another day of the same thing in about 12 hours.

Talk about amazingly monotonous work.

But then these verses came to mind. "Work heartily... As if for the Lord... " And my mind began to change in the way it viewed box stacking. I realized that if I stacked these boxes to the best of my ability, in reality, I was pleasing the God who created me.

This was a good thing to learn. Little did I know at the time that I would spend the next 5 years of my life stacking boxes in trailers.

But I also learned that I shouldn't only work hard when the boss was around or when I knew that I was being watched. I should work hard with a singleness of heart. It couldn't be about me, or what I was going to get out of it. It had to be about Christ.

Whatever work you do, it is ultimately for Christ. Whether it is molding minds in a classroom, or stacking boxes in a trailer. It really doesn't make a difference as far as Christ is concerned. He simply wants you to work as if you were working for Him.

Who do you work for?