Teachers are one of the most gossiped-about groups of people. Students compare and complain about teachers all the time as a matter of course. It seems almost impossible to be a teacher that people generally like, much less one that no one complains about.
As Christian students, I think this is one of the biggest areas where we can change our behavior to demonstrate our faith. Because if someone doesn’t complain about their teachers (or complain in general…but that’s another post), it stands out pretty obviously.
Teachers Deserve Our Respect
The Bible is very clear that Christians are called to honor those placed in authority above them.
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” -Hebrews 13:17
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” -Romans 13:1
Teachers spend their life helping to raise the next generation in an underpaid and underappreciated job. It would be nice if they could receive a little more respect from those who they are trying to teach. (Yes, even the bad teachers.) They are human too, not some kind of mindless robot with no feelings.
And don’t just show respect to their face, either; show them respect even when they aren’t around, in the conversations you have with your friends and family. Imagine how much you could change the atmosphere of your friend group if you stopped listening to teacher gossip!
What If They Hold Different Beliefs?
This can suddenly get hard if one of your teachers has very different beliefs from you. Especially in public school, Christians are not a majority, and most of your teachers will hold varying religious and political beliefs. How do you show respect to someone you don’t agree with?
If the issues don’t really come up in class much, just ignore it. You can still respect someone without agreeing with everything they say. Test everything with Scripture and quietly refute the things they teach that you know to be false; they don’t necessarily need to know that you disagree with them.
If, however, you find yourself in a confrontation about an issue, in a class discussion or even a one-on-one conversation, it can be tricky. Still try to present your ideas in a “respectful disagreement” sort of way, even if they are being less than nice about it. And don’t gossip about the conversation later.
Always remember that respecting someone does not mean accepting everything they teach. You are allowed to hold your own opinions, and you are allowed to defend those opinions. Just try to do everything with love and honor in mind.
What do you think? Have you had trouble with teacher gossip before? Will you try to put a stop to it this year in your own life? Have you ever had a confrontation with a teacher over your Christian beliefs, and how did you handle it?