Knowing that I have struggled with this since I can remember, God, in His infinite wisdom and sense of humor gave me a student whose mom and dad teach the grade above me-- right next door. The first few months of school I was mortified that they were seeing all my mistakes, judging me, and disapproving of all that I was doing. The worst part was knowing that they were going to teach my kids next year, after I had ruined them with my lack of skill.
Slowly, the mother of my student won me over with her kindness and easygoing manner. Finally, I began looking to them as the co-laborers in the Gospel that they are. I began to see that their students aren't perfect, just like mine aren't, and also realize that if God put me in this classroom this year, He probably won't let me "ruin" His children, whether I am a great teacher or not.
Last week God showed me how ridiculous my need for approval is. I got to sit down with this mother and tell her how I worried about what she thought of me. Know what? She didn't tell me that she approved of me or that I was doing a great job. She told me that her approval wasn't what was important. Not what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear! She said she wasn't going to judge me this year except to affirm that I was capable of doing my job, which she had decided long ago. So, whether my kids do exciting enough projects or learn all of their prepositions, God has placed me here this year, and I'm just going to work hard and use the resources, time, and skills that He has given me and be the teacher He wants me to be. I'm not going to let my anxiety get the best of me.
19 pairs of eyes may be watching my every move in the classroom, but the truth is that I teach for an audience of One.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Philippians 4:4-7