To the Christian Teacher in a Public School

How many times have you heard the term (or one similar) “They’ve taken God out of public schools!”? I’ve heard it many, many times but so far it has failed to worry me. Don’t get me wrong, it saddens me that a teacher can actually get fired if he or she offends someone by praying aloud or teaching scripture in a public school. It saddens me that some school systems (not mine) have taken the phrase “under God” out of their daily Pledge of Allegiance. It frustrates and sometimes angers me that other religions seem to be tolerated so quickly, yet Christianity simply will not be tolerated in some public school systems. It makes me want to cry out “What are we doing?” But when I get completely worked up over laws and rights, I feel the gentle push of the Holy Spirit saying this to me: “When was the last time you were this sad over the fact that some kids never have clean clothes on? Were you this upset when the boy in time out over there didn’t come to school because no one got up to get him dressed and on the bus? Are you this passionate when the same child just doesn’t get it no matter how much you teach?” You see, if I’m not careful, I can so caught up in the idea of protecting my Christianity (which does have its place) that I forget to actually live my Christianity. And as a kindergarten/first grade teacher in a public school, I need to live my Christianity every second of every day. I’m not worried that God has been taken out of our public schools. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and Omnipresent. He is everywhere all the time, no matter what laws politicians make up. No man has the power to direct where God can and cannot be. God is in our schools. Jesus is in our schools. He is in the hearts of His believers. His love shines through us. Us. We are to be Jesus to the world. So, to the Christian teacher in a public school, I am in no way telling you to break the law or hinder your job! But I am reminding you (and mostly myself! :)) that it’s okay for you to bring Jesus into your classroom. We may not be able to explicitly teach the Bible and prayer to our students, but we can live the Word. We can live the way Jesus calls us to live. That’s what He’s called us to do, after all! We are just seed-planters. He is the one who saves. So how do we plant seeds? How do we live the Word when we can’t teach about the Word? We love. Oohhhhh my, this is so easy for me to say right now as I sit in my comfy chair. After two months, I’ve conveniently forgotten that I won’t be sitting again for about 10 months. Farewell, comfy chair. It’s so easy for me to talk about loving when I haven’t met that child that’s going to do their best to make me dislike them. It’s easy to talk about loving when I haven’t been in a stressful parent meeting, data meeting, in-service meeting, faculty meeting, and collaboration meeting when I really just need to get in my room and prepare! But in order to show the love of Jesus, we are called to love. What does love look like in a classroom? I was really convicted of this a few years ago as I went around blabbing to anyone who would listen how much I loved kindergarten and how much I loved teaching. What does true love look like? “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 How patient am I when my table is full of papers, files, and assessments and an unexpected parent meeting pops up during my prep time? How kind am I when the same child misbehaves time and time again? (That one hurts…) What about when that other teacher walks by with the perfect class in the hall and my class looks like a circus in comparison? Am I not just a bit envious? Or if it’s me with the perfect class, am I ever boastful or proud, even if it’s just in my head? I’ve just got what it takes to make these kids mind. My teaching must be top-notch…these kids are reading like second graders and it’s not even the first nine weeks! I’m soooooo good! With these verses above, I could go on and on about ways I don’t always show love as a teacher. I am grateful to a God who loves me in spite of me. And this year I am going to show His love, perhaps to little ones who have never experienced it in their own lives. I am going to be a seed planter, not by reading scriptures aloud at school, but by showing them in my actions. I am going to pray in my heart for patience, kindness, humility, trust, hope, perseverance… I am going to pray in my heart for my sweet little ones. jesus loves me You know the song “Jesus Loves Me”? There’s a line that I love. It says “Yes, Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so!” I’m so glad for His Word. I’m so glad that I can share it with my personal children, Parker and Peyton, and show them where it tells them that Jesus loves them. But what about those little ones who don’t know what a Bible is? How will they know that Jesus loves them? What about those little ones whose parents are so beaten by life that they haven’t shown their children God’s love? The Lord may place them in your room this year. He may put their name on your list. He may put them at my work table, in my story circle. I plan to show them the love of Jesus by simply loving them. Who will join me?

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486 Responses to To the Christian Teacher in a Public School

  1. Lisa Habersack says:

    Thank you so much for this reminder! At the beginning of the year, something that I do is pray over my students, each desk, and even the doorways. I ask the Holy Spirit to be over each and every person that I come in contact with. I hope you have a great and blessed start of the year!

    • Paige Givens says:

      You too Lisa! Thanks so much.

    • Jennie Swift says:

      I am retired now, but from the time I left home I prayed for me to be faithful to God. Walking up the sidewalk all the way to my classroom I prayed for protection for all withing. Walking into my classroom I ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me in everything I said and did that day. I prayed peace and joy over each desk (including mine). God never let me down, and I am convinced the students saw Jesus in me.

      • Another thing, and doubtless this is because I am an unimaginitive sort, I can’t picture Jesus or any of the apostles being excited about God supposedly being taken out of the schools. I’ve been reading Paul’s letters again, just finished up 1 Corinthians, and I just can’t remember anything he said that can be construed as trying to get worldly authorities to sponsor prayer in schools, or any little favors like that to Christians.

        The state of the law today is that anybody can express his religious opinions, so long as kids are not apt to think that those opinions are being sponsored in some way by the district. Since any teacher’s authority derives from his position as teacher, a government agent, it means that whatever you say or do can’t be bolstered by your governmental authority. Why should that be a problem?

        In the wilderness, Jesus was handed three temptations, and they incorporate in one way or another every temptation we ever face – as it is written, “When the devil had finished every temptation . . .” One of these is to bow down before Satan to receive the kingdoms of this world.

        The apostles got the same offer in Samaria (Acts 8). Paul and his companions definitely were offered the same deal in Philippi through the slave girl with the spirit of divination (Acts 16). But ever since then, Christians have been jumping on this deal whenever it comes up.

        Ever since Constantine, and even before, the ruler “converts,” gives his heart to Jesus,” or some such twaddle, and throws us treats “like a piece of offal thrown to a barking dog,” in John Calvin’s memorable phrase in his introduction to The Institutes of the Christian Religion. And in return the prostitute church shills for the ruler, whose conduct in fact bears no relation to the directions of Jesus in, say, Matthew 5-7, with its question hanging in there, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do what I say?”

        In the United States it’s really extreme, because we got our start by the Pilgrims and Puritans coming here to set up a little state in which they could live godly without being persecuted. The problem is that God decreed through the apostle Paul that anyone who wants to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, so the whole endeavor was an attempt to repeal the word of God. The mixture of bullying and seeking to dominate together with groveling, flattering, and pledging allegiance which has characterized our ways ever since is just the continued pursuit of that hallucination. No marvel that that hasn’t worked out well – the counsel of the Lord, that will stand.

      • Linda Lancaster-Cox says:

        I am retired, too, Jennie….. I must share this… without asking, I know it is ok…. for,
        it is ALWAYS to share God…..

    • Heidi says:

      Thank you Lisa! I pray over my students’ desks each year too. I made a choice in June to leave my job at a christianj school, for a new position at a low income school on a local reservation. I made this move on purpose because it is where God is leading me. This post above is a great reminder of our mission in education – our true calling.

  2. Kristin Pingleton says:

    Thank you so much for this! It reminds me what I’m doing this for! I am definitely passing this on! God bless you in your school year!

  3. Tenna Perez says:

    I love your article. Beautifully written and so true. Thanks for the reminder! Have a wonderful blessed year.

  4. Litsa Taylor says:

    I am a high school teacher and it’s so hard to do this in the classroom. However, I say things like “god is watching you” I love you and so does God and hope these little things can be just a little glimpse of HIS love for all of us

  5. I’m wondering why a Christian would actually want “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, since that is a manifestly false statement, except in the sense that the whole world including Satan himself is under God. Doesn’t being a Christian have something to do with having some reverence for the truth, in that Jesus so names himself?

    Indeed, can someone explain to me what in the Pledge of Allegiance is true, or why anyone should want schoolchildren reciting it, except to teach them the habit of saying whatever they’re told because someone in authority wants them to, whether it’s true or not? Does that kind of mindless conformity to man look much like Jesus or the apostles, or the prophets? What kind of Christianity is this?

    Before anyone flies off the handle and start calling me names, could you just first see if you can give good answers to these questions?

    • Peter, First, your thoughts are not relevant to the meat of the article, so perhaps your question should not be posed here but in a more relevant venue. However, it is now posted and I have a response for you.

      I am thankful for the influence of Christian teachers in public schools and pray more are called to serve in that way. I choose to homeschool my son and he will be learning the Pledge of Allegiance. Below I will go line by line explaining why I want my son to learn it.

      “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America” I want my child to commit himself to patriotism and civic responsibility. There are still many great things about our country that I want him to learn to appreciate. Also, without involvement by myself, my son and others like me, we cannot change the bad things.

      “and to the Republic for which it stands” Again, civic responsibility will motivate my son to protect the democratic republic we have either through voting, serving in the armed forces to protect that freedom, or working at a grass roots level against policies and laws that endanger our freedoms from within. Or maybe all of the above.

      “One Nation, under God,” This is a history lesson and a spiritual lesson for my son to understand the principles on which our nation was founded, and that even today we are answerable to God for how we as a nation choose to view and honor God.

      “Indivisible” This is another history lesson. A reminder of what we allowed to come between us as a country that led to the civil war. A reminder to work together to solve our differences instead of killing each other over them. A reminder that we are stronger together than as individuals.

      “with liberty and justice for all” Again, a reminder to my son that America is not just about his freedom, but everyone’s. So sometimes, he may be inconvenienced by someone else’s freedom, or he may have to learn to interact with someone who holds a different belief or point of view because it is their right as much as it is his.

      Now, having written these things I must agree with you on one point. If I do not teach my son the meaning of what he is reciting, both verbally and with real life experience (boy scouts, feeding the homeless, going with me when I vote), than the words have no meaning. The same is true with catechisms or bible verses I may teach my son. Without understanding of the words being memorized/ repeated, the effort is meaningless. So I think the true question is not why would we want it recited (because it clearly has value) but why aren’t we teaching the meaning through other lessons? Or maybe we are, so it’s all good…

      A question I have for you, Peter, is why did I have to explain the meaning for you? Where you not taught the meaning in the words? or have you forgotten?

      Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope my point of view has given you something to think about.

      • Jesus didn’t approve of public prayers or oaths, especially if those oaths were in allegiance to graven images and man made secular governments made by children not old enough to understand the gravity of such oaths. Christianity is founded first and for most on two laws, love of God and love of all of humanity equally, not loyalty to a government or one nationality. And the pledge isn’t true because Americans are way too diverse to be considered “One Nation”, we can be divided, and “liberty and justice” is not provided for all.

      • I appreciate your response, and your question, yankeesintennessee.

        I’m familiar with the meaning of the words, but that’s on the whole not how the words actually read, with the exception of “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands,” because these words say what I’m doing, rather than giving a bombastic and self-righteous description which in no way comports with reality. I have only one quibble – we ought to be pledging to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, and not the flag. Flags are empty symbols into which you can pour anything. Fascist movements are especially fond of flag-waving, all over the world, and American flag-wavers are almost always belligerent nationalists. Flag-waving and “doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with your God” are pretty incompatible. The attitudes involved are pretty mutually exclusive.

        The baseball player Jackie Robinson summed it up pretty well: “I wouldn’t fly the flag on the Fourth of July or any other day. When I see a car with a flag pasted on it, I figure the guy behind the wheel isn’t my friend.”

        Nevertheless, we ought to seek the welfare of any place we live, and so this first portion is conditionally acceptable.

        But “under God” is ridiculous. Christian principles in my Bible do not consist of pious talk but obedience to what Jesus says, summed up in Matthew 5-7. Can you name a 24 hour period in the past 400 years in which the United States of America or its people have shown any interest in actually practicing these words?

        And this is the heart of our spiritual corruption, I think – showy piety, “robbing widows’ houses’ (and Indians, and Mexicans, and black slaves, and so many more) and for a pretense making long prayers.”

        “Indivisible,” too is an impudent absurdity. The Bible warns that God “scatters the proud in the imagination of their hearts.” People have been building proud towers and worshiping them in order to make themselves indivisible from Genesis 11 on up. It works for a while, too, but it doesn’t end well. How can a Christian endorse that spirit? Only humility before God brings about real indivisibility, and that excludes such boasting.

        “Liberty and justice for all?” If you can’t hear the cries of the children of Gaza, or the 3 million Vietnamese, or the million or so in Iraq, can’t you feel the corpses of thousands of babies slaughtered in abortion clinics today squishing between your toes as you stand there to utter such blasphemy? It is written, “He who shuts his eyes to the cry of the poor will cry himself and not be heard (Proverbs 21:13), which goes far to explain why Christians pray and nothing happens. If we actually open your ears to the cry of the poor, won’t that cry slap this bombast out of anyone’s mouth?

      • Sharon Davis says:

        Very good answer!

    • amaebryan says:

      In a completely historical sense, the pledge originated during a time when more international travel began in 1892. It was written by a Baptist minister, a socialist who first wanted to include the words equality and fraternity. Besides instilling national pride, it was also hoped that the pledge would increase US flag sales. It did not include under God until 1954.

  6. Natalie says:

    I’m fine with you being a christian and teaching my non christian kids as long as you continue to show the qualities I believe all teachers should have, christian or not. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be understanding. Be accepting. Not judging. Not undermining my parental rights. To me, these are how all of us should be, no matter what we believe. I am teaching my kids to be wonderful people and I hope that you will find them as loving and happy as any other kid in your class.

  7. Christine Flatt says:

    Thank you, Paige, for your beautiful and timely reminder that we are to be salt and light in a dark world. Our students are our future. We need to sow the love of God into their lives.

  8. lizabethd says:

    Wonderful reminder! Thank you!

  9. Ronnie says:

    On a lighter note, as long as there are exams in schools, there will always be prayer in school. 😀

  10. Dawn Nelson says:

    I will join you and already do! Thank you for this and for showing the love of Christ in this post! Well said!

  11. Tammy says:

    I love your perspective on this, thank you for sharing and for beginning my school year with a smile in my heart.

  12. Pam Smith says:

    Thank you for your article!! You have given this pastor’s wife/substitute teacher a great reminder, as school begins in a few weeks, that we can show the love of Christ to the many students we have in our classrooms. (Well, maybe even teachers, too! Had one teacher ask me to pray with her before the kids came in one morning!) The Lord can use us for His purposes. Bless you, and have a great new school year!! — Pam

  13. Reblogged this on landreaulanguage and commented:
    This article is so true, and fortunately we have a superintendent and school board that supports these beliefs. Lord, I pray that you remind me of my faith and commitment to furthering your love, when I am confronted with that child who does his/her best to make me forget that I love all of God’s children, or when I’m questioned by parents or administrators. Our teacher of the year, reminded us of these very verses at Institute. Thank you Ms. Johnson!

  14. Bronsongirl88 says:

    I begin to pray for “my kids” during the days in which classes are created. I pray that the kids that I need to learn from and those who need me as a teacher are placed in my class. I continue to pray all summer for the make up of my class. Reminding myself that each child was chosen by God to be in my room helps me through those days where survival seems shaky.

    • Yvette Pace says:

      I am retired now, but I prayed for each of my students. The years when I had an abundance of “difficult” kids, I prayed for them and for myself; to remind myself that God chose me to teach those particular students, regardless of how unlovable they tried to be, and that my REAL BOSS (God) wanted me to teach them far more than the 3 R’s. By disciplining justly, and with compassion, I was living my Christianity in front of them. As long as Christian teachers are called to the public school classroom, God will be in the schools.

  15. David says:

    A) I love the sentiment and the gift of a way forward – live the example of the Word.

    B) You say “How do we live the Word when we can’t teach about the Word?” However, nothing prevents you from teaching about the Word in church, Sunday School, your own home, and loads of other places. I know what you meant, but even a Christian like me read that and thought that I’m pretty sure Jesus would understand if you weren’t literally teaching the Word 24/7. (I think of “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”) That said, a person can do that if he or she wants, but then it would seem that teaching a religion course would be a more appropriate career choice for that individual.

    I guess the point is that it’s easy for us as Christians to wring our hands about God being taken out of the schools — because we’re referring to *our* God. The most vocal among us don’t seem to worrry if Allah is kept from the schools, but that is value-judging among religions. That’s why I don’t want a teacher making his or her own choice to, you’ll forgive the phrasing, usurp my right to raise my child in the religion of my choice, On that same note, I wouldn’t want any teacher telling your child (whether explicitly or implicitly) that what you’ve taught is incorrect.

    I know that you are only attempting to do positive things and teach about the Word, and I am glad you have found a way to do so by living the example. I just wish we as Christians could keep Matthew 6:5-6 in mind more. I think that your encouragement for us to love as a way of teaching the Word is a great way to do that, and I thank you for that!

    • Paige Givens says:

      Thanks David. Like you said, some Christians, myself–at times–included, “wring our hands” if we think God is being taken out of schools.
      However, the whole point of my article was that instead of wringing my hands, I’m going to live my faith by doing what I feel in my heart that scripture tells me to do–and that’s to love my students!:)
      Thanks for your comments friend!

      • David says:

        Paige – I hope more of us will have the courage of our faith to follow your example. It’s quiet leadership like this that is truly spreading the Word (in my humble opinion). God Bless, and have a great year!

      • Paige Givens says:

        Thank you! Blessings!

  16. Beth O'Connor says:

    First, I loved your article. I agree with your solution and your wisdom. It is one of the best responses I’ve seen in a long time to address how a Christian can be a public school teacher. There was a time when each new day was introduced with prayer. When we said the pledge and sang a patriotic song. Those days are gone in some schools, but we can still be good (no great) teachers by teaching citizenship, compassion, and loyalty through our words and actions.

    After reading some of the vitriolic comments I am deeply saddened by the anger and redirection of your words. We are a nation divided, but not just politically, I am sorry to say. More than a political divide, we are suffering a religious divide and not among other religions, but within Christianity. No two pastors agree, no two church members agree, no two denominations agree, and no two religious services on Sunday (or Saturday) agree. I am sad for the divide. I am sad for Christianity, but God himself, must be sad for humanity. If you truly believe that Jesus is Lord, then just listen to your heart and keep your theology to yourself. We need to come together as a faith because we are the cause of the great divide and the loss of souls. Who wants to be a member of a faith that is so rife with anger, and with holier than thou attitudes, and with know-it-all’s and with hate mongers? My faith is is Him, but my soul is sad. I pray daily for Christians to come together, to lift up Jesus teachings to love one another and not judge others. Let us leave the rest to God. He is always with us. We need to be still so we can hear His voice not our own.

    • Paige Givens says:

      Very well said. Thank you for your words.

    • I’m guessing that the “vitriolic comments” that you are alluding to refer to mine. If I’m wrong, I would be grateful for your straightening me out.

      It seems to me that what is vitriolic about what I’ve said is that I posed some hard questions, and when the responses were unsatisfactory, I made clear how that was. These are the kind of vitriolic comments I used to get from my customers at the software house I used to work for, when the fix I sent failed to fix their reported problem. I never saw that as vitriolic in the least. It was what the customers were doing to make me get it right.

      So here’s speaking for a lot of people, especially hard-headed non-Christians – and most especially when they’re soft-hearted – this kind of passive-aggressive ad hominem attack, under a smoke-screen of love-talk, does not at all look like love. It looks like aggression and weaseling.

      Fortunately, the apostle Peter gave some helpful instruction on how to deal with people’s tough questions in 1 Peter 3:15. Meanwhile, know that on the sharp end, your response looks like a guy who has been abusing his wife finding fault with her and showing how reasonable he is when she yells at him. Before God, I don’t think this looks as nice as you seem to think it does.

  17. Pingback: How to Be a Christian and a Public School Teacher Simultaneously | rickysplace

  18. I hope you don’t mind that I quoted from and linked to your beautiful post. Your words and thoughts touched me and resonated, especially as we gear back up for another school year. I felt that many of my colleagues would be interested in and uplifted by your thoughts. Thank you so much for what you have written.

  19. Since I note that many here are teachers, and I am a special education advocate, I would like to put this before you that I encounter all the time and ask you how you handle it.

    It is quite routine in IEP meetings for teachers to be quite obviously be saying what the administration has told them, and to be shutting up about what the administration wants them to shut up about – whatever they may quietly tell the aprent in the hallway. Even at hearing, they can’t be relied on to tell the truth under oath.

    My question to you all is, do you resist the district’s pressure and tell the truth? Do you refer students for assessment who appear to need it, or do you listen to your principal when he tells you not to? Do you tell parents their rights, or dop you keep silent for fear of retaliation against you?

  20. Pam sittre says:

    In regards to Peter Attwood’s question re: IEP meetings: I hear what you are saying about teachers keeping quiet. I, too, as a teacher, have had admin pressure me to stay quiet;however, I always lead by my heart when it comes to children. I have to have integrity, and be able to look myself in the mirror when I get home. I tell the truth. Sometimes, the truth hurts. I feel if I lose my job over telling the truth, it’s time I find another profession. There are things we are not allowed to say, such as, ” Have you thought about taking your child to see his/her pediatrician, or specialist?” There are other ways around this, and I’ve become quiet clever at getting my point across in as diplomatic form as possible. I try my best to be the student’s advocate and encourage their parents not to be afraid to ask questions and ask for things their child needs. It’s amazing to me what the squeaky door always gets, and saddens me when parents are afraid or feel intimidated to not say anything or ask questions. As a Christian, a mother, a human being, I have to always do what I think is right for each child in my class. Sometimes, my hands are tied, but I always try my best to make the learning accessible to all students.

    • Pam Sittre, if this describes you, you are an unusual class act! May the blessing of Psalm 41 pursue you.

      I’m working for a teacher right now whose kid has been ripped off for years by the district, which has refused to see and do anything about his visual processing problems. And having interviewed the kid and his family, and looked over the paperwork, I saw plenty of cause to suspect Asperger Syndrome, which definitely needs to be assessed for, and the school psychologist gave me an argument about how we shouldn’t even look!

      So they said they’ll get the Prior Written Notice to us within two weeks on what they are going to do about these assessments. The spedhead knows that if they don’t agree, they’ll see us at hearing. 2 Samuel 23:6-7 comes to mind.

      The thing is, this teacher, who is the union rep at her school, did not know her right to advocate for her kids, and her protections if she is intimidated or otherwise bullied for doing so. I directed her to the relevant 9th Circuit case on this topic:

      Click to access 07-56313.pdf

      It should be highly persuasive in other circuits; no one has ruled otherwise.

      Barker remained at her perch in Riverside for a time after Riverside paid Barker appropriately for the educat5ion they received from her, and then she moved to a district up north where she is doing fine. So, ladies, you don’t have to be bullied into throwing your kids under the bus.

      My client wants to hook up a Q&A with her teachers on disability and sped law so that they are better armed. As far as I am concerned, this is one of the things that Proverbs 24:11-12 and 21:13 look like. When they see us living like we believe this stuff, they’re more likely to believe it too, as the Great commission makes clear when we consider it in light of Jeremiah 4:14, where Jesus got it from.

  21. William says:

    This is all you need to be regardless of your faith or lack of faith. A good person is not forged from the reverence of a supreme being. So, yes, this post rings true in the idea that a teacher should be patient, and kind, and giving, and loving. If a teacher is none of those things, they are a terrible teacher whether or not God is in their hearts.

  22. Alicia Patterson says:

    I shared this on my page, Paige. Thank you for bringing into words the feeling I have for teaching in the public school system. Beautiful heartfelt words of wisdom! And I appreciate being reminded of my daily job to love the children like Jesus would and not just teach them!! I am starting my 32nd year of teaching and still loving it! But ALWAYS we need to be reminded of what Jesus would have us to do!

    • Paige Givens says:

      Wow! 32 years! That’s wonderful. Have a great year!

    • Melissa says:

      Mrs. Patterson, if you are the Mrs. Patterson that taught my “pardner” K and 1, please know that God’s love pours out of you. I am so grateful to God for your role in my daughter’s life. May the Lord bless you richly and may you have a beautiful school year #32.

  23. Melissa says:

    I loved this. You put into words my feelings about teaching. I realized one year when I had a particularly difficult group that I might be the only person praying for these students, ever. I realized that I might be the only one shining God’s light into their very dark worlds. When people ask me why I teach in a public school or why I have my own children in public school, my answer is “So that God’s love will be in those classrooms. Please are not convinced by our words, but by our actions.”

  24. S Davis says:

    Your point of living your faith by showing love is right on. Also, a teacher’s prayer life can be so powerful and needs to be encouraged. There’s only one point that I do want to make; the problems in this society started when “God was taken out” of the schools, but society’s ills have been exacerbated exponentially by things that are now being promoted in schools that are against God’s Word. That is why I would still be very “worried” about God being taken out. It has left a void that is being filled with evil that’s keeping them from coming to God and salvation. What good is it if I meet a child’s physical or emotional needs, but teach them things that may contribute to them spending an eternity separated from God? I pray that God helps all Christian teachers proceed with His wisdom and truth!

  25. Ennaren says:

    Bravo. I remember, when I was a kid going through a rough time, a loving teacher showing compassion and kindness made such an enormous difference, strengthening me against all those slings and arrows over which children have so little control. On the other hand, a teacher who talked about God’s love but didn’t show it (was petty and mean, played favorites, looked down on people, gossiped) would alienate me – not just from them, but from God, because it made me think that was what Christians were.

    Sometimes when you know someone is a Christian and they treat you with love, it opens your heart to God far more than when someone preaches at you but doesn’t show any love.

    Someone as loving and mindful as you clearly are makes an amazing difference in the lives of children, whether or not you talk about Jesus in class.

  26. Reblogged this on ThePreachersWord and commented:
    Yesterday I came across this blog for the first time, and really liked the message. With a new school year just around the corner, I wanted to share this challenge with our readers. I don’t know Paige. And I don’t know her religious beliefs. And while I might have expressed these thoughts a bit differently in a couple places, I know she’s right about allowing the light of Jesus to shine in the workplace. What a great opportunity Christian teachers and workers in the public schools have to influence children for good by just showing and sharing the love of Jesus.

  27. Paige, I really liked your post. A lot! In fact, so much that I have relbogged it on my blog, which is something I’ve only done once or twice in three years. Thanks for the good message. And for being a positive influence with our public schools. God bless!

  28. Linda says:

    Paige, I plan on sharing your post as well. Thank you for allowing the Lord to direct your thoughts and wording those sentiments so beautifully. After 21 years in the classroom the Lord moved me a few years ago to work directly with teachers and curriculum, ‘enlarging my borders’ in sharing His love. Knowing and operating in the love OF the Father is the key (the focus) I have found that provides the supernatural power (dunamis) that He has given us access to through the indwelling of His Spirit! Have a fabulous year walking and loving out loud!

    • Gabby says:

      Love your site! I am a teacher too, but have not had very good experiences with jobs I have been placed in over the past 10 years. After some very bad interactions with other staff, I decided it was time for a change. I was unable to get a transfer so, I decided to quit and look for something new. I substituted for most of this past year. I haven’t had any interviews for the upcoming school year. My families finances have suffered since I left my full-time job. I am praying a job that fits me will come. Please pray that God will lead the way and that I can trust his way is the best.

    • Paige Givens says:

      Thanks Linda! I love your term “love out loud”!

  29. Paige, This was beautiful!! I am so blessed to have had wonderful, loving, praying teachers over the last several years for my children as we have transitioned from being a homeschool family to a public/charter school family. They have not all been this way, but I love that God has so many of you strategically placed to be LIGHT and HOPE and LOVE to so many children! Thank you for making a difference and thank you for sharing your thoughts. There is no doubt that the Lord will bless your efforts as you seek to bring glory to His name! I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  30. Dallas Valerian says:

    You know, I’m a big believer in the separation of church and state, just like the Constitution says. But you’ve certainly found the key to being Christian in all places at all times. Living your faith and attracting others to Christ is the way to do it, not arguing and belittling others who don’t agree or trying to browbeat others into accepting your personal beliefs as I’ve experienced sometimes.

    Your article certainly affects me positively, and I hope it will bring your same love and faith to all its readers.

  31. barbihnen says:

    Thank you for the wonderful article. I’m an elementary principal, and every year I start out when the building is quiet by going from room to room and praying for the teachers and students who will spend countless hours there during the school year. I also pray over our cafeteria, library, etc. One of the saddest questions I was ever asked was why I wore a “t” on my necklace.

    • Jen says:

      What a blessing you are to your staff! Your post brings tears because I don’t think many principals do this sort of thing. Thank you for praying for your teachers because we don’t always have very many thankful for what we do.

  32. Jen says:

    Thank you for this reminder of who I serve and what I should be at school. I am not really excited to go back to school yet so I need to remember that I’m serving God through my work.

  33. Samantha says:

    For me personally, being and showing Jesus to my students isn’t the challenge. The real challenge for me is be Jesus to my coworkers, staff, and administration. The students where I teach crave attention and love so that comes a bit easier, but showing grace, love and compassion to adults that get on my nerves or I don’t agree with or aren’t doing their job the way I think it should be done–that’s my real struggle. So I also challenge myself and other teachers to be Jesus to the adults as well. Because it matters all the way around.

  34. Angie Wright says:

    Thank you… Wonderfully written. I taught 1st graders for 6 years and am teaching 2nd graders now. Your words resonate with me and my thoughts of teaching… I truly believe it’s my “ministry” to be a teacher! I don’t always do it perfectly everyday, just like Jesus would, but I’m so grateful God has given me the opportunity to build into the lives of children and after 9 years I still wake up everyday thankful to goto school and spend time teaching students and loving them (to the best of my ability through Christ) so that I have done my best to be the “body of Christ” to them… Thanks again! Hope you have a fantastic school year!

  35. Pingback: Christian Teacher in a Public School | Mama's Lessons of Faith

  36. dixie says:

    God is missing in the public school curriculum. With God out of the curriculum, what is in the curriculum?

    • If truth is in the curriculum, then God is in it, same as God is involved if a physician finds the proper treatment for an illness, or if a guy designs a bridge properly.

      Why do you want government to be teaching religion, and if it does, how do you know that the religion it teaches will be yours?

  37. baham4plus says:

    He makes a great point(s). It is troubling that some in government have been systematically attempting to remove God from our schools & our history. Christians need to step forward & live His Word & God will use us if we pray & allow Him to, so kids will see the face of Jesus in us.

    When we teach the Golden Rule, what Love means etc. we haven’t mentioned God but have opened His Book, His Love for those kids to hear, to experience. Then pray that God surrounds them & leads them to the foot of the cross.

    Which reminds me of a time I walked into a classroom before school & out from the closet comes two teachers. I didn’t know what to think or say. I must have looked quite shocked because they looked at me & started giggling. Knowing I was a Christian they informed me they were “closet prayers” because they were told they could not be seen praying. How beautiful!! Two ladies who care & love the kids sooo much they are willing to meet every morning in a closet to pray for the school & to pray for the students!

    What would happen if all teachers & parents prayed for their students & schools? I know parents who have joined someone or walk alone through the hallways or around the outside of the school, praying. If God is for us who can be against us?

    • Kathy McCabe says:

      Baham4plus teachers are not told they cannot pray in South Carolina public schools. In fact we have a mandated moment of silence each day. Anyone who wishes may bow their heads to pray during this time. O know: I’m an SC public school teacher
      Mother Teresa once said the most effective prayer is in solitude. She said you can better speak to and listen to God when praying alone.

  38. lizleeray says:

    This is awesome! Than you!

  39. Charlene says:

    I know who I am! Thank you for your love!

  40. I loved this. It spoke to me like nothing has in a while. Thank you.

  41. Nichole Hackmann says:

    Thank you for sharing. It has always been my heart to do just this. I know I can’t spread his word but I can spread his love. Thank you for your heart and encouragement. I have seen so many adults be so unloving towards the kiddos. You never know what the kids walk in with. Love them where they are, just as Christ loves us!

  42. Karen says:

    Martin Luther is supposed to have said, “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.” Living our faith by loving our neighbors, including those who seem unlovable, is something vastly more difficult to do and yet is also vastly more powerful than talking about what we believe can ever be. “What you do speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say.”

  43. RC says:

    Deeds and actions done in the name of the Lord are more powerful than words alone. It is one thing to speak the word of God, it is another to live by it. It seems too many want to simply speak the words, as it’s easier than living by them. James tells us in 2:17 “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” Paige, you are going to be a very important witness to the Lord this year by your deeds.

    Lord, we lift up Paige and pray that her actions and her love show your grace to the world. Help guide her to change lives this school year and may her good deeds make those who need your grace run into your arms.

  44. RoxieW says:

    I believe that quote is from St. Francis of Assisi not Martin Luther, but the sentiment is still the same!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for the correction, Roxie. I hadn’t thought of it in a long time until this discussion brought it to mind. Obviously my memory is a bit fuzzy. Whoever said it, it’s a good thought!

  45. Mikehorn says:

    From the title I was prepared to disagree with this article, expecting the same selfish, misguided, sectarian culture war gibberish. But that didn’t happen. I’m an atheist parent of school age children, and I have few or no disagreements with the author or her approach to teaching. Perhaps more Christians can be agreeable like this rather than annoying and adversarial like so many I meet or read.

  46. Mack Hall says:

    An excellent essay and many thoughtful comments. Well done, everyone. And now, please, don’t neglect to vote in your local school board elections. You are the public, you are the government, and millions of children need you to elect good and worthy school boards.

    • Frances Skees says:

      Thank you so much for posting such a beautiful article. God will bless you time and time again for those awesome words. It saddens me to know that God has been taken out of practically everything except our hearts. You are doing a fantastic job, and yes, LOVE those children. After all, God is love

  47. So beautiful. Please join us in the Word ( and in prayer ( – You are loved.

  48. Pingback: BE Love | Upcycle Moms

  49. Brian says:

    It is so nice to see someone realize what being a Christian means. I am no fan of religion by any. means. When I see people take the politics out of religion (whether it be Christianity, Islam, Judaism…or whatever) and start practicing the tenets of that religion, it gives me hope. Let’s face it, all major religions teach peace and love and politics has a tendency to skew those teachings. So kudo’s to you for remembering what it means to be a Christian.

  50. THANK YOU so much for this article! What a wonderful reminder for every Christian teacher. I shared this with the staff at my school and they were so grateful – everyone loved it. God bless you for being a blessing to us!

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