Monday, August 18, 2014

The Name On A Badge

Since the name Columbine became the by-word for the unthinkable in the spring of 1999, American schools have become obsessed with the safety of their students and rightly so. Protection of the innocent from the vilest of creatures is now the topic of inservice meetings at individual schools as well as conferences. Public officials now have plans and back up plans should the need arise to act. God forbid, they ever need to again.

Our school has been proactive in safety matters and we are reminded of precautions on almost a daily basis. During inservice over the past several weeks, we reviewed and updated procedures in a number of areas, including fire and tornado drills. The unpredictable is predictable, we just don't know where. As with most private/parochial/Christian schools, our students wear uniforms. There are a number of reasons for this trend; improved discipline, saving money, school spirit, less competition, etc. (Not everyone agrees that uniforms are the way to go.) One other benefit is that you can recognize who is a student and who is not. We even have guidelines on who may visit and visitors must have an ID in plain sight, such as a driver's license sticker. We've added another layer of security this year. Faculty and staff are wearing our identification badges, formerly used only for special occasions, on a daily basis. The reasoning is obvious; parents need to know who belongs within our halls and this is the simplest method. I haven't quite become accustomed to the new policy but like anything else, it will become habit in time. It took me awhile to get used to wearing a belt with my dress pants but I've conquered that mountain as well. I'm a slow learner.

To some,  the faculty ID might be a little thing but in reality, it isn't. Parents have to be able to recognize who the teachers are; my name tag identifies me as legitimate. Recognizing false teachers for what they are takes more time. Jesus put it like this in Matthew 7 in the Phillips translation:

15-20 “Be on your guard against false religious teachers, who come to you dressed up as sheep but are really greedy wolves. You can tell them by their fruit. Do you pick a bunch of grapes from a thorn-bush or figs from a clump of thistles? Every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree is incapable of producing bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. The tree that fails to produce good fruit is cut down and burnt. So you may know men by their fruit.”

Fruit doesn't appear over night. It takes weeks and months and years and maybe a life time to fully show itself. That's why teaching is such a huge responsibility. I learned early in my student teaching in Bald Knob, Arkansas that the kids would accept what I told them, even if it was outlandish. That's a powerful drug, the cloak of believability. It can be used to cultivate wisdom or folly, truth or error, life or death. James 3:1 warns against too many becoming teachers due to the strictness of the accountability. That's a stern warning to all in my profession, to look daily in the mirror of conscience and examine our methods and motives. A magnetic name tag can help me gain clearance into a building but no badge can ever make me a worthwhile teacher. That designation comes from a much higher authority. It's a mission like absolutely no other and I pray we complete it with the honor it deserves. The reward is unfathomable.

Applicable quote of the day:
"In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day's work. It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years." 
Jacques Barzun

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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