as published in "The Christian School Builder" (August 1996)
The issue of authority is a real one in our day as evidenced in the following newsletter clipping, "Today's school problems are a result of: The teachers are afraid of the principal, the principal is afraid of the superintendent, the superintendent is afraid of the school board, the school board is afraid of the parents, the parents are afraid of the children, and the children are afraid of no one!"
The above is not a normal occurrence among our schools. We thank the Lord for a mutual working relationship that honors and glorifies Him. Nevertheless, there is the tendency for failure in each of us. We need to be on our guard for these tendencies.
Schoolteachers fill a most valuable role and place in the classrooms. There they individualize their rooms to their liking. There they are an authority over those they are responsible for. They know their students and the daily subjects they teach the best. This can be a real test for teachers then to relate properly to school boards, who are an authority over them.
It is of primary necessity for teachers to recognize board authority. The school board represents the local church. They are called of God through the church for this very important work. The school board are faithful brethren who with their perspective have an overview of school matters not possible from the classroom. Remember the proverbial line "You can't see the forest for the trees." The school board also has direction from the ministry that gives added stability to the Christian day school.
The Bible admonishes us, "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free" (Ephesians 6:5-8).
Although we do not necessarily view the employee-employer relationship as a servant-master relationship in our day, we are all servants of the Lord Jesus. The attitude of a servant is obedience and submission. This is the role for the spiritual person. The natural person desires to be served, to climb to positions of power where he can rule, rather than to obey and submit.
The schoolteacher's perspective of his role can make him an asset or a liability to the school and school board. Schoolteachers who are consistent with their Christian profession and serve practically to the best of their ability will be builders of the church and school for today and tomorrow. They will be open to the board when they constructively criticize their work. They will not hastily jump to conclusions when guidance comes. A natural tendency is to think our character is being attacked when criticism is given. The spiritual person, however, uses criticism to refine himself. No one is the best in all areas of life, but we need to learn how and where we can do and be better. A good way for this is for us to be open to those over us in the Lord.
Communication is of utmost importance in all relationships, and no less for teachers and school boards. Teachers need to share their concerns and frustrations. When not shared, they become unsolved problems that may soon affect the classroom. Keep the children's good in view.
Granted, fears may at times inhibit teachers from speaking too freely as they sit in school board meetings. And of times, there are situations that should be presented to one board member individually. Nevertheless, it is a good experience to give a monthly report of classroom academics and behavior to the school board. At a time like that, speak clearly and loudly enough to be heard by all present at the meeting. If you have questions, ask them. When an answer needs to be given at a later time, have patience.
It is never simple to simply submit, but it is what the Lord asks of us. "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8).
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