Keep Calm and Shoot Straight

A Blog for Teachers
by Mary Jean Powers

The Teacher’s Attitude

Sep 21, 2020

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.

2 Corinthians 6:3 NIV

at·​ti·​tude | \ ˈa-tə-ˌtüd

1 : a position assumed for a specific purpose

2a : a mental position with regard to a fact or state
b : a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state

The word ‘attitude’ has Italian roots and means posture, i.e. how you carry yourself.  That explains why attitudes always seem to leak, expressing themselves through some kind of behavior.

In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church, he teaches about the heart of a servant. Let’s take Paul’s description and apply it to the idea of “servant-teaching.” What’s your first reaction to the idea of connecting those two words? To be honest, mine is negative and stems from a defensive fear of being taken advantage of by entitled students. Maybe I have an attitude … 

Paul, however, viewed all of life as an opportunity to serve – not because his vocation required it, but because he understood that Jesus, the Servant-Teacher, is our model for living.  Jesus’ attitude was one of humility. “And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset [attitude] become your motivation. He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize. Instead, he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient. He was a perfect example, even in his death (Philippians 2:5-7 The Passion Translation). Listen to Paul’s description of the attitude of a servant in this short video.

I hear confidence in Paul’s tone. He knows what it takes to serve Jesus and to teach His ways. Teaching is hard work. Did you hear that? What you do is HARD! Because it is such a demanding profession, it is crucial that our attitudes are honorable. As you slowly read each line of 2 Corinthians 6:3-10, have an honest conversation with God about your attitude. Some of the lines may surprise you (hopefully you haven’t experienced beatings, imprisonments and riots lately … but remember that events like these are all-too-common for teachers in many countries).

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path,
so that our ministry will not be discredited.
Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way:

in great endurance;
in troubles, hardships and distresses;
in beatings, imprisonments and riots;
in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;
in purity, understanding, patience and kindness;
in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;
in truthful speech and in the power of God;
with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report;
genuine, yet regarded as impostors;
known, yet regarded as unknown;
dying, and yet we live on;
beaten, and yet not killed;
sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;
poor, yet making many rich;
having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

To summarize: Servant-teachers are reliable and can be trusted.  Servant-teachers need great endurance because trouble, hardship and distress are guaranteed. Students find their way into our hearts … and sleepless nights ensue. God’s Spirit enables us to choose purity of heart, understanding, patience and kindness. We must be honest and remind ourselves that with God’s help, we can become fantastic teachers as we learn to lovingly serve our students. Yes, there will be bad reports and there will be good reports, there will be accusations and tears, the “thrill of victory; the agony of defeat” … and yet, God sees us! He knows that, in our hearts, we genuinely desire to be effective influencers for good. We choose to teach because we are convinced of the power and freedom that comes through education. We choose to teach because we know we are enriching the lives of our students. This is our attitude; this is our motivation; this is our passion: making many rich.

About Keep Calm and Shoot Straight

I am a teacher. You, too? I hope you love the profession as much as I do! I was 16 when I got my first teaching gigs – I had 20 private piano students and a Sunday School class of 4 and 5-year olds! At that point in my “career,” my definition of teacher was very limited. But now – after 45+ years of experience – I have come to realize that teacher can mean many different things. I’d like to share some of those insights with you! My posts will range from quotes to prayers, from cartoons to words of wisdom. Much of my teaching experience has been international, so you'll get to watch some video stories from around the globe. Jesus is the best Teacher I know, so I will be including Him in this blog, as well. I hope my thoughts and my story will encourage, provoke, and inspire you to become the teacher you’ve been created to be!

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Mary Jean Powers

Mary Jean Powers

B.A. in Christian Education
M.A. in Biblical Studies
Music teacher (band and choir director, private instruction) for 35 years
International Bible teacher for 17+ years
Certified Walk Thru the Bible instructor
Certified TESL International Instructor
CEU Provider for ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International)
Certified Life Coach and Chaplain

Who am I? A teacher coming alongside teachers!