I am a kindergarten teacher as well as a Christian. Every month our kindergarten would select excellent teachers according to parents’ evaluation of teachers’ comprehensive quality and children’s behavior at home. Those who were well considered would be trusted and respected by our headmaster, while those who were poorly thought of might be dismissed. In order to be elected an excellent teacher, I racked my brain to teach the children: When they cried, I used candies or toys to comfort them; when they fought, I set them apart and taught them to love each other; during the break, I took them to play on slide; I tried my best to make them happy in kindergarten and gave them little homework. After a whole day’s hard work, I often felt exhausted. However, no matter how hard I worked, I still didn’t earn the title of “Outstanding Teacher.” Every month the headmaster and parents would have a talk with me, which made me feel embarrassed and distressed. I thought: I never beat or scold the children but take care of them with so much patience that I often exhaust myself after a whole day’s work. However, I was never assessed as excellence, for they didn’t behave well at home. If things continue like this, I’ll certainly be fired. What can I do to improve my teaching?
Then I asked those “outstanding” teachers for some advice. One of them told me that the key to earning the title of “Outstanding Teacher” was disciplining children. “Because they are too young to understand things, you’d better be strict with them rather than spoil them, otherwise they would think you are easy to deal with and show no respect to you. Only when you make them fear you and obey your words, can you win parents’ satisfaction, as well as headmaster’s respect and trust.” Hearing her words, I doubted in my heart: Doesn’t it mean that I should inflict corporal punishment on the children? Parents send their children to kindergarten to provide them with a better environment, not to make them suffer. Besides, I am a Christian; I can’t do as what she suggested. But then it occurred to me: Believing in God and teaching children are two different things. What she said is the actual situation. These children are so naughty that they always wore me out. So, in order to keep my job and earn the title of “Outstanding Teacher,” I determined to treat the children according to what that teacher said.
Once, during the nap time, seeing a child whispering to another, I came to him, hauled him out of bed and punished him by keeping him standing with hands raising for half an hour. Another time I punished a child who didn’t finish his homework by making him stand in the corner, and said to other children, “Don’t play with him! Whoever doesn’t obey my words will be punished in the same way.” Once, as a child accidently broke off another one’s pencil, I ordered him to squat for thirty minutes. Specially trained by me, these children became much more obedient, to the extent that upon hearing my voice they would hurry back to their seats. Seeing the result of my “efforts,” I felt satisfied. Though parents still didn’t approve of my teaching, I comforted myself: Maybe it’s only because I just begin to teach children in this way, and the effect is not significant. Though parents’ evaluation of my work is not so high, it is at least better than before. As long as I persist, I’ll succeed in the end. And thus I planned to tighten the discipline.
One day, a parent came to the kindergarten to inquire something about his child, “Ms Zhu, I felt there is something wrong with my son. Before, every time I sent him here, he felt happy. However, recently he often cried, unwilling to come. I don’t know what happened to him. Ms Zhu, what should I do?” After hearing the parent, I felt distressed and couldn’t help but think of scenes when I inflicted corporal punishment on the children, especially that time when I had the child who didn’t finish the homework standing in the corner and asked other children not to play with him. At that time he, lowering his head and clenching the edge of his garment, casted glances at me timidly. At this thought, I recalled my own experience at primary school: Once I was asked to stand out of the classroom by my teacher for failing to recite a text. Laughed at by my classmates like a clown, I was so sad, tears flowing freely down my cheeks. Since then, I was sick of that teacher and also afraid of him. At these thoughts, I began to regret meting out physical punishment to the children, for what I did actually made some of them afraid of going to school. What an awful teacher I was in their hearts! I was really a failure as a teacher.
After that parent left, I asked myself: How should I teach these children in the future? Returning home, I thought that as I believed in God, I should rely on Him in all things. Then I prayed to God, speaking my difficulties to Him. Later, I read a passage of: “Maybe you are a president, or a scientist, a pastor, or an elder, but no matter how high your office, if you rely on your knowledge and ability in your undertakings, then you shall always be a failure, and shall always be bereft of the blessings of God” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”). From God’s words, I came to know that if we rely on our ability in all things without having God in our hearts or believing His rule over all things, we will attain nothing and be bereft of His blessings. Then I thought: In the matter of teaching children, didn’t I rely on my own ability? When encountering difficulties in teaching, I never sought God’s intention; neither did I pray to or rely on Him. I thought that teaching children had nothing to do with belief in God, so I chose to consult an experienced teacher who had no truth and relied on satanic corrupt disposition to mete out physical punishment to the children. As I taught the children according to her words, I became more and more malicious. When the children were naughty or didn’t do homework, I would mete out corporal punishment to them instead of giving proper and patient guidance to them, for I worried that I couldn’t earn the title of “Outstanding Teacher” if they disobeyed me. Thinking back, at the very beginning of my career, I just wanted to be a good teacher who could teach these innocent children well. However, driven by fame and fortune, I gradually changed and no longer treated them genuinely. Without the guidance of God’s word, I began to follow the laws of survival of the society and became more lacking in how a human being should be. Now God arranging such a circumstance is for me to see through the society’s evil tide and learn to be a good teacher according to His word. Knowing God’s intention, I was so grateful. Then I began to put God’s word into practice consciously and prayed to Him for leading me to give up pursuing fame and fortune.
Once seeing two children fighting, I went over to them. Just as I was about to set them apart, one of them cursed and mugged at me. I was irritated by his actions and thought: Since I’ve relaxed the discipline for some time, you are out of control now, and even dare to curse me. See how I’ll deal with you. When I was about to draw him out of the classroom, I thought of God’s words: “Since you believe in God, you must eat and drink of His word, experience His word, and live out His word. Only this is belief in God! If you say you believe in God yet cannot speak out any of His words or put them into practice, you are not considered to believe in God” (“The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word”). Yes. Since I believe in God, I should practice in accordance with His word and His requirements. Outwardly, it is just a child being naughty, but in fact, it is the orchestrations and arrangements of God to change my corrupt disposition. As a teacher, I have no patience with or compassion for the children, and even couldn’t bear any disobedience of them. How deeply I am corrupted by Satan! Now I should forsake my fresh and treat them with love. Thinking of these, I didn’t feel anger or scold that child but told a story to them in class. To my surprise, they kept quiet and listened carefully. Finally, they all understood the story, and the child who cursed me even could retell it. Thanks be to God!
One morning, a child was sent to our kindergarten by his parent. When I picked him up, he began to cry, and even kicked and punched me. I thought: If I don’t teach you a lesson, you’ll be out of control. Today, I’m not taking care of you; I’m gonna ask your parent to take you home. But then I thought of God’s words: “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements, or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God”). “The heart and spirit of man are held in the hand of God, and all the life of man is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear according to God’s thoughts. This is how God rules over all things” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life”). From God’s word, I came to know His intention: God arranging this environment for me is to give me a test. As a believer in God, I should practice the truth, stand witness to God, and live out the likeness of a Christian rather than do things relying on satanic corrupt disposition. Besides, as this child’s thoughts and ideas are held in God’s hands, whether he is obedient or not is not up to me. I should entrust everything to God and submit to His orchestrations and arrangements. Thinking of these, I became peaceful in my heart and knew that what I should do was try my best to teach him. Soon after my attitude changed, the child actually stopped crying, and even helped me comfort other crying children. At that scene, I was more certain that God was my reliance and that we were all under the orchestrations of His hands. Since then mybecame greater.
After experiencing God’s work many times, I saw His marvelous deeds: When I brought God’s word into real life to experience, the children became increasingly obedient so that I felt more relaxed at work. In class, I encouraged them to talk actively to improve their powers of language expression, and meanwhile the class became lively. During the recess, I would take them to play outside for about ten minutes. In the past, when some children tattletaled on others to me, I either ignored or scolded them, for I thought what they said was nothing important, while now I know that God wants me to live out the normal humanity and treat them in an equal position; so, when they reported others to me again, I would listen to them patiently and teach them how to get along with others. I would also teach those who did wrong to apologize for their mistakes and comfort those being wronged by telling jokes or stories, or playing games with them. The relationships between me and the children became more and more harmonious. They liked me more and more, and often surrounded me, telling me things that happened in their family.
Unconsciously, it came to the monthly evaluation. I prayed to God, “Oh, God! May You protect my heart from being controlled by fame and fortune; whether or not I can earn the title of ‘Outstanding Teacher’ and parents’ satisfaction is in Your hands; I’m willing to submit to Your arrangements.” One day, when I was tidying up, a teacher came to me and said, “Congratulations, Ms Zhu. The parents are very pleased with you. You are assessed as excellence.” Hearing her words, I thanked God from the bottom of my heart, for I had just practiced a few of His words and yet He treated me with grace and blessing. I appreciated that the secret of teaching children is in God’s word. As God’s word says: “The future direction will be thus: Those who gain the utterances from God’s mouth will have a path to walk on earth, and be they businessmen or scientists, or educators or industrialists, those who are without God’s words will have a hard time taking even a single step, and will be forced to seek the true way. This is what is meant by, ‘With the truth you’ll walk the entire world; without the truth, you’ll get nowhere.’ The facts are thus: God will use the Way (which means all of His words) to command the whole universe and govern and conquer mankind” (“The Millennial Kingdom Has Arrived”).
Through my personal experience, I saw that only the truth can resolve all our difficulties and problems. Without God, we will have no path to take regardless of what industry we are engaged in. When we genuinely rely on God and live by His words, we can resolve all difficulties and live under His guidance and blessings. All glory be to Almighty God!
By Zhu Mei, China