When a Teacher is Far More Than a Teacher

Summer is a magical season for students and educators: they largely get to unplug from what philosophers call “the workaday world,” and they often get to spend some time pursuing their own individual passions, things such as sports camps, book clubs, and college and independent study courses.

Teachers at The Ambrose School, however, are a bit different. There is an important aspect of the calling of a teacher at The Ambrose School that doesn’t recognize summer break: the calling to disciple students in a Christ-centered life. Even when classes are not in session, our teachers embrace this lofty calling.

For example, I received an email from a parent earlier this summer. I don’t get many parent emails in early July, so when I did, I must admit that I panicked just a little. Those few emails I do get in July are not typically positive.

The story in this email was so very different. This family has an adult daughter moving out of the house, and their younger daughter was excited to inherit her room. The younger daughter loves French style and all things Paris, and she was sad that she didn’t have any French décor for her soon-to-be new room. She mentioned this in passing to one of our teachers, who saw an opportunity to do something beautiful.

ParisEarlier this month – in the very heart of summer when so many educators are indulging their own interests – our teacher stopped by her student’s house to drop off a piece of original artwork for her wall. The teacher, who is a skilled artist, spent time during her own summer break to paint a beautiful oil painting of the Eiffel Tower. It was a free gift, given out of love and self-sacrifice, and not in the pursuit of tenure or the next tier on a pay scale. In fact, had the parent not emailed me to tell me, I never would have known!

Proverbs 22:6 reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” The process of training entails so many things, but two of the more important are relationship and modeling. This particular story is a powerful example where the teacher excelled at both those things. Through the sacrifice of her time and attention, a deep relationship is being built with her student; undoubtedly, when the teacher needs to correct or impart wisdom to her student in the future, she’ll find a willing and attentive ear! By modeling caritas, the love of Christ that is selfless and kind, our teacher gave her student a clear image, and inspiration to go with it, of what it looks like to fulfill Jesus’s commandment “to love [others] as yourself.”

At a classical Christian school like ours, teachers are more than just teachers.

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