I am a teacher by calling, choice and genetics. My grandmother had her own school and as far as I know that’s all she did. As I was growing up in El Salvador I didn’t give much thought on being a teacher but I know I had a curious mind. I wanted to know, to understand, to share with others. When I came to the United States I was still young and it was in the 80’s when I joined a church at the age of 14 that I began teaching. I had just become a Christian and I excited about sharing what I was learning with others. I began teaching an adult small group class along with our youth pastor. Then I moved to teaching our youth group’s Bible study on Monday night for a number of years. I do recall the first time I spoke using a more public forum (standing in a podium). It was during chapel time at our church’s school when I was in 9th grade. My notes were prepared to teach a group of children. I chose a horrible topic which was probably not appropriate for them (and do not wish to say it). My knees were shaking and I was sweating. I did finish but it was difficult but I enjoyed teaching.
I continued to be involved in church and I often taught in Sunday school and during the evening services once a month or so. In retrospect, I often think how did I dare to do this when I was only 15 years of age. Nevertheless, God in his sovereign will allowed it. I loved teaching and could not have enough. When I was in community college I had all intentions of becoming a teacher as well but one class kept me from pursuing my single subject credential in History. Thus, I continued teaching at church until I was married at an early age and finished my AA. My desire was to be a pastor so our family decided to relocate to Arizona so I could go to Bible school for two years. We did. There I also taught in churches as well. When we moved back to California I felt ready to take the calling of a pastor and we found a place that could sponsor us as church planters. We began our work in 1995 and for six years we toiled hard to get a Hispanic church planted. It was difficult being alone and not having the man power to help us. During this same year I began working on my M. Div. and in 1999 I completed it. I started substituting to supplement our income and decided to work on my teaching credential. In the year 2000 I started working full time as a teacher. As difficult as it was, I loved it. I vowed to not be just a teacher, but one that would change children’s lives.
I continued being both a pastor and a teacher until December of 2001. That’s when I came to the conclusion that I would be a full time teacher. I wrote: “Lord, I hope I have honored you today. I have given you what you have given me. If you ever give it back to me I don’t want it to be the same. I want to be better.”
|“I know you will be a great minister”|
It was in January 2011 when God guided to teaching the Bible and became involved with a youth group for one year. At this point I began to pray that God would lead me back to ministry.
It was in this year when I began working at a private school. I had prayed for a good place to teach and God answered. But I told the Lord, “I only want to do it for no more than 2 years and then I want to be back in ministry.” I could not see myself spending the rest of my life not serving Him completely and teaching children. It is hard to do both, one will receive the focus more than the other. After I finished the first year at this school, I thought I could probably do this longer but little did I know God would remind me the next school year what I said to Him by bringing a series of circumstances that would spin out of my control and help me understand that I am His. His alone.
Being a teacher for me has never been only about academics or just imparting head knowledge inside my classroom but showing them to love learning and life from the heart. I shared to students from my heart and personal stories were the best medium for it. I have gotten to know them and listened to all of their stories and experiences (parents should be careful what they do and say). I visited many students in their homes, given countless books, given things from my classroom, laughed, cried together, gone to graduations and kept in touch with a number of them. Yes, I have been looked upon as “unorthodox,” “controversial,” and many other titles, but never has my love and dedication for children being questioned.
Thus my journey of 7 schools, three districts, one charter school, one private school, one University and ten classes teaching children and young adults, has come to an end.
Yesterday, I closed my classroom door one last time. Now I wait for Him to open a new door. The door to serve Him. Once it is open, I have no intention of ever closing it again.
But I am still a teacher.
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