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The Impact of Teachers on a Child's Life

“Here in Texas, it is Teacher Appreciation Week,’ writes Jen Hatmaker. According to Jen, there isn’t enough gratitude in the world to properly thank the men and women “who serve not only as our kids’ educators but their counselors, relationship interventionists, coaches, cheerleaders, therapists, personal tutors, motivational speakers, and occasionally their benevolent wardens.”

She continues,

“I’ve done the math, and teachers should make a minimum of $438,932 a year. This is basic economical science. My spreadsheets tell me that educating an entire generation is among the most important work on earth, and you should make more money than the shot girl at a bar. (She officially makes more than you, but please don’t leave our children to start dealing in jello shots. We will give you all the Chili’s gift cards you can handle.)”

Jen continues to list off all the ways she wishes she could show gratitude to her children’s teachers, including a real summer vacation, and the abolition of the much-dreaded standardized tests, on which teachers are evaluated every year.

“I wish your pay grade and job security did not depend on a room of nervous children mastering a test that doesn’t necessarily indicate achievement, but rather, tends to be an accurate indicator of the income of the student's parents and his fortunate (or unfortunate) placement in the “norm,” because heaven help the ESL kids, those with special needs, the underresourced, the at-risk, the creatives, and the divergent learners.”

After reading through Jen’s touching and humorous piece, it’s hard to deny that teachers have an unquantifiable impact on society, families, and the lives of young children. According to Crosswalk blogger Jim Liebelt, one study shows that teachers and parents have greater impact and influence in children than even their peers do.

“’Parents and teachers who might feel powerless during adolescence have a bigger influence on academic motivation than they think - sometimes up to three times the impact of peers,’ said Andrew Martin, an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education and Social Work and the study's lead researcher.

‘If you think you have no impact, stick with it because you do, and not just in the early years - at all stages of secondary school teachers and parents have a significant impact.’ He also cautioned that the flipside of the research is that academic motivation suffers when a child does not get on well with teachers or parents. ‘The study clearly points to the importance of positive connections and quality relationships with teachers and parents in adolescents' lives.’"

Loving teachers, whether they be in classrooms or homeschool parents at the kitchen table, are invaluable to society’s children. However, sometimes finding the best teacher in a given situation can be difficult for Christian families.

iBelieve Blogger Lindsey Carlson opened up at the beginning of this past school year and shared, Why I'm Not Homeschooling This Year. Although Lindsey has been homeschooling for four years, trying to “train up” her children in the way of Proverbs 22:6, things began to change.

“The systems and schedules didn’t help everything get done, the curriculum didn’t lend itself to two wiggly babies, nothing magically changed and I remained generally overwhelmed. Living in constant survival mode, I clung tightly to my choice to homeschool, ignoring the fact that I was dying on the vine.”

Finally, after God provided an opening in a local school that seemed to really fit their family’s needs, Lindsey found the strength to let go and trust God to provide what was best for her children – even if she wasn’t their teacher anymore. She shares:

“Thankfully, our whole family has thrived under the change. I’ve learned there really aren’t one-size-fits-all, easy answers in the Christian life. By God’s design, the parenting process is intended to draw us to the Holy Spirit, seeking his wisdom and his guidance. My schooling or other parenting choices should never be based on formulas and idealism, but instead on faith in God’s goodness, depending unswervingly on his abounding grace.

Gospel-centered parenting is about so much more than where our children learn to read and write…Thankfully, I can magnify Christ as a parent no matter how I choose to educate my kids.”

What about your family? Have you thanked your kids’ teacher lately? If you’re doing the hard job of teaching and parenting, be sure to check out Crosswalk’s Homeschooling channel for resources and encouragement!

Debbie Holloway is the Family Life Editor for

Publication date: May 7, 2014