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The Care of the Caregiver

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We can control some of the pressure by scheduling times of renewal and rest. A bridge is designed to carry only the traffic of the moment not the traffic of the day. When we feel overwhelmed it is time to follow the example of the Master Teacher and head for the mountain for prayer and renewal. Jesus was known even to withdraw to a fisher’s boat to escape the crowds for a short recess. Fishermen are always telling me it is God’s will for us to do the same.

By David Reynolds

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“And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while; for there were many coming, and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat” (Mark 6:3 1).

At a recent conference the following question was addressed by evangelist Ben Jordan, “Who encourages the encourager?” This is an important issue for all teachers, as shown by an incident that happened at the first ACTS Conference we conducted in Indianapolis. There were over two hundred Christian teachers and principals present. At this conference Dr. Sidney Poe offered a workshop on, “Coping with Teacher Burnout.”

He had between thirty and forty in his session. Soon after he began, a teacher began to sob; followed by others weeping as Dr. Poe acknowledged that stress was a legitimate concern for teacher’s even Christian teachers. Some felt guilty about the symptoms they experienced and others felt they had backslidden. The workshop finally broke up into a prayer service—how appropriate. Remember, as teacher’s we see a lot of the pain of life and feel all too often helpless to change it. There is no shame in admitting our helplessness at these times.

“And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus. And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles” (Luke 6:11-13).

Who encourages the teacher? Here in our scripture text we see the Master Teacher under pressure. Yes, He was very human. His enemies who are critical of His teaching are attacking him. He is also faced with an important decision, that of choosing the men who will be charged with continuing His gospel. While under this load we see the Master Head for the mountains to pray for strength and wisdom. I do not believe it was just to set us an example. I really believe He needed strength and encouragement that only His heavenly Father could give.

Teaching lends itself to intense personal involvement with people and their problems. This is true, especially if you are in the classroom for a good share of the day and you are responsible for not only the learning but also monitoring behavior. There is no relief from the concentration of emotion. Couple this with the fact that most teachers then go home to their own families with all the expectation for performance found there.

Those who advocate a year round without extensive breaks for teachers do not know what they are asking. They will bum out their entire faculty within two years. All principals have experienced the difference in staff morale between September and May the above incident with Dr. Poe happened at the conference dot May just before the end of the year.

I feel it is important that we Christian teachers, day school as meet during April or May for experience less resignations in schools schedule times for administrators to get together, but few schools seem to take their faculty along. Sunday Schools need to schedule retreats and even short breaks so they can sit in the Bible class for renewal.

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