I invited Abbie Adkison, a Harding alumnus, to speak to the graduating interns this past week. I had Abbie in a couple of classes and she was smart and engaging as an undergrad. I have followed her career since she began teaching and I hoped our paths would cross again. She’s been teaching high school English in a tough district and I knew she would have good advice for the new graduates about their first year and the spiritual journey of teaching but I had no idea that she would capture all of our hearts and inspire us to be more like Jesus.
During Abbie’s presentation, I was frantically typing what she was saying into my phone so I wouldn’t forget the wise words that just seemed to spill forth from her. Here is what I was able to get.
The first year was really hard. I felt like Jacob and I was wrestling with God but I held on and got my blessing the second year. The second year is so much better.
Teaching is a lifestyle not just a job.
I tell my students, ‘I’m as nice as you let me be and as mean as you make me.’
Don’t neglect the best teacher of all time because Satan is after your kids and God has sent you to stand in the gap.
Do not stop caring. Let yourself be broken.
Teachers are snitches as mandated reporters. It’s horrible but I do it because I love them. Tell them that you have to report because you love them.
How do I build relationships with my students? I rarely miss a day. Be there. Be trustworthy. Listen. My students notice that I rarely miss and they tell me to take break. Get a sub. But I don’t. I’m there.
Find your teacher self. Draw a line and don’t cross it. There are things I don’t tell my students about myself like my age. They don’t need to know that. I am not their friend. I am their teacher.
You can only show them that you care through your actions. They will only believe you care because of what you do.
Don’t drop your expectations because your heart is breaking.
God would never send you to a place that he could not conqueror.
God is the only one who can save your kids.
Thank you, Abbie. You made us all better teachers.
I hope you have a great day!