I always look forward to this time of the year – the start of a new school year. There is a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air as teachers come together for those annual staff in-service meetings. The past few weeks have been extremely busy for me as I have had the privilege of conducting several staff development workshops in various locations in Georgia and Florida. I just returned from sharing with close to 800 teachers and administrators at the ACSI Caribe Teacher Convention in the Dominican Republic. This week I will be in Virginia and New Mexico conducting two more in-service workshops.
I have always wondered how to sustain the excitement of the start of the school year throughout the entire year. It seems like it always wanes after teachers, students and parents get settled into the normal routine of going to school. I have come to believe that what is needed to sustain the energy that is common at the beginning of the school year is passion.
Sometimes we confuse passion with “flashes of enthusiasm.” Enthusiasm waxes and wanes based on external circumstances. Passion does not ebb and flow but is continual regardless of what is taking place around us. It is continual and does not diminish with time.
So how do we transition from enthusiasm to passion? We must understand that passion comes from deeply held convictions. Convictions are not ideas that we hold to but are ideas that have a grip on us. In his book, Conviction to Lead, Dr. Albert Mohler says that the deeper one’s convictions, the stronger the person’s passion becomes.
When it comes to education, we must develop strong convictions about how God wants us to educate future generations. These convictions must be grounded in the truth of God’s Word. As we begin a new year, we need to be convinced that every subject we teach is a part of God’s magnificent creation. This means that as we delve deeply into our subjects with our students, we are on an adventure to discover the majesty of God, Himself. Read Paul’s words that he penned in Romans 1:20 carefully and think about the implications these words have on what you will be doing throughout this year as you teach your students.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (NASB)
When you think about leading your students in the discovery of God’s eternal power and divine nature through everything you teach and study, teaching takes on new meaning. Elizabeth Barrett Browning understood this in her work, Aurora Leigh. She wrote,
Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, and only he who sees, takes off his shoes – the rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.
This is what the Psalmist had in mind when he wrote,
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Psalm 19:1 (NASB)
As we begin another school year, I pray that we will grasp more fully the awesome opportunity God is giving us to lead our students to understand that what they are studying are not merely academic subjects. They are uncovering beams of God’s glory. When this happens, I am convinced that we will teach with passion and not just enthusiasm. I pray every administrator, teacher and student sees every common bush afire with God throughout this entire school year.