A tribute to teachers. A paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13.
I may be able to teach with eloquence and angelic rhapsody, but if I don’t love my students, I’m only a fascinating entertainer or an educated actor. If I have powerful and inspired lessons and have the answer to every question, and if I have faith to tackle every challenge in my profession, but don’t love, I’m nothing. I may give everything I have to my students and even burn out for them, but if I don’t love, my efforts are useless.
Teachers should love their charges with a love that never gives up; with a love that compliments the students, recognizes their needs, and nurtures them; with a love that’s not possessive, neither coveting one student, nor begrudging another; with a love that doesn’t try to impress or create an image; and with a love that doesn’t cherish inflated ideas of accomplishments.
Teachers should love their students with a love that never fails. They should be a paradigm of good manners with a love that doesn’t pursue selfish advantage, nor become touchy and hypersensitive, and certainly doesn’t hold past mistakes against a student.
Furthermore, the teacher should be unhappy when students are wicked but glad when truth prevails. When the teacher has such love, she or he is trusting God implicitly and will have unlimited endurance and confidence to bear all things and look for the best in every student and every situation.
This God-given love is eternal. But inspired presentations and lectures will become obsolete; teaching methodologies will end; the pursuit of knowledge will be abandoned. For we only know a part of the truth and our instruction is always incomplete, but when the Teacher arrives, our shortcomings will pass away.
When I was a child, I had the behaviour and immaturity of a child. When I grew up, I turned my back on infantile ways. Now we seem to be peering through the fog at a silhouette; but the fog will eventually lift and we’ll have clarity. Now I know partially; then I’ll know completely – as totally as God’s knowledge of me as a teacher. But for now I must have a steady faith, a consistent hope, and an extravagant love. But the greatest of these is love.