King David addresses the concept of success in 1 Kings 2:3. He gives this advice to his son Solomon. “Do what the LORD your God commands and follow his teachings. Obey everything written in the Law of Moses. Then you will be a success, no matter what you do or where you go.” It is interesting that David avoided the common success advice—build up his kingdom with great armies, gain as much wealth as possible and defeat every enemy that comes against you. Instead, his formula for success was to follow and obey God.
How are you going to define success this year - in your classroom, in your school? When you look back on this school year, as it concludes, what type of teacher or administrator were you? What response would your students give when at the end of the school year, they were all lined up and asked this question: How successful do you feel your teacher was in changing your life – academically, behaviorally and spiritually? As an administrator, what will your teachers and parents say about you at the end of the school year? I am certain there would be a variety of answers. In fact, it would be a good idea to ask student, parents and teachers this question throughout the year. You may be amazed at the feedback, and if you are not having an influence in certain areas, you will still have time to make changes before the year ends.
Now is the time to plan your ending, determine the type of teacher or administrator you want to become and then spend time each week of the school year working toward this end.
Definition of Success
For most of his life, Solomon took his father’s advice to heart. Solomon reflects on his reign in Proverbs: “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So, you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:1-4).
Dr, Wilkerson, author of the 7 Laws of the Learner, discusses the success of a teacher. He says, “Teachers should judge their success by the success of their students.” He shares that the real professional role for the teacher is to facilitate successful learning for all students. This means that all teachers need to have specific skills and knowledge to accomplish these three actions:
· Know exactly what their students should be learning.
· Be able to identify student learning challenges.
· Be able to solve the students learning challenges.
The common thought is, “If the student isn’t learning, it is their fault.” No. It is our challenge. We are here to cause the student to learn. This is a high level of accountability and responsibility (see James 1:3). Parents send their students to our school because they believe the school can make a difference—academically, behaviorally, and spiritually, as well as in sports and the fine arts.
Move Students Toward Success
For a teacher to become successful, they will need to produce successful students. It is the role of the teacher to move students toward success. As a teacher, you are in control of the subject, the pace, teaching style, and setting. You determine the environment in which learning can be facilitated. It takes effective planning to make learning fun, not boring or routine.
Likewise, for administrators to become successful, they must be willing to invest time in helping teachers maximize success in the classroom. This means knowing what is happening in the lives of their teachers and in their classrooms. Be available to help assess the classroom environment and to offer recommendations for improvement. Set the example in words and actions, and above all else, walk in integrity.
Capacity vs Ability
The capacity to be successful and the ability to be successful are not equated, just like the capacity to learn and the ability to learn are not equated. The general thought is if a student does not have the ability (or enough smarts) to learn via a certain method, it is assumed that the student’s innate capacity to learn is likewise limited. The traditional approach assumes that all have equal ability, and it ignores individual differences.
Your capacity to become a very successful Christian educator is unknown and your ability is a variable. Your ability is in direct proportion to you allowing God to work His good pleasure through you and in you. As you do this, you will walk in “good works,” produce “much fruit” and have a life-changing influence upon your students. It is the expectation of the administrator to help teachers produce "much fruit."
Have a Great Year!