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What You Do Matters: A Word of Encouragement for Teachers

What you do matters: A word of encouragement for teachers

Piles of grading. Irate parents. Disrespectful, disinterested students. Constant testing and unreasonable requirements. These, and many more things, conspire against teachers and try to bring us down. To discourage us. To make us wonder if we are wasting our time.

And today I want to offer you a small word of encouragement. – You are NOT wasting your time. What you’re doing DOES matter. Your labor is not in vain.

Teacher, Your Work Matters

I was going to tell you that there are students in your class who will look back on this year and be thankful for your influence. They may even be the one causing you the most trouble.

I was going to remind you that growth takes time and tell you that the seeds you are planting in young hearts and minds will grow and bring forth fruit, even if you might not see it yet.

I was going to tell you that you are making a difference. That there are students who care. Who are grateful. Who are learning. Who are growing. Even if they never tell you.

I was going to tell you all of this until I realized that all of these things pale in comparison to one very important fact.

God sees your effort, your work, your labor. And He is the only one that truly matters.

God sees the long hours and the shed tears. He knows your biggest frustrations and your deepest hurts.

He doesn’t overlook you. And He doesn’t take you for granted.

We put so much thought & effort into doing our best for our students. Into being the best teacher we can for their sake. And while we should emphasize the kids’ needs above our own, there is someone else that we should be serving above all else: our God.

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Col. 3:23-24)

This powerful verse reminds us that we are working for an audience of one: our Lord Jesus Christ.

When no one else seems to notice, He sees.

When no one else seems to care, He cares.

When our words seem to be falling flat, He sees our effort and is pleased with our faithfulness.

If we’re doing it all for Him.

So today, in the midst of the busyness, the frustration, the chaos – take a moment and remember the real reason that you are teaching. It shouldn’t be for the praise. It shouldn’t be for the satisfaction. It shouldn’t even be for the kids.

The real reason we are teaching should be for God.

And if we keep our focus on Him, it doesn’t matter as much what’s happening around us.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (I Cor. 15:58)

So don’t give up. Don’t quit.

Be encouraged in the Lord. Find the help you need.

And keep making a difference.

How do you encourage yourself in the Lord during discouraging days? Leave a comment in the space below.

And consider joining us in Teach Uplifted, a six-week program designed to help you renew your passion for teaching by finding joy & peace in Christ.

Learn how to Teach Uplifted

Photo by Luz Adriana Villa A.

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  • Thank you for this post, so frustrated with state testing this week and kids who just don’t care and tell me that they didn’t do their best. This unfortunately though will reflect on me and me alone. I needed to be reminded of my ultimate goal as a Christian.

  • Thank you for this post. My thoughts on how to encourage teachers have been refreshed and renewed. I have to give words of encouragement to the teachers in the church cell group and this post is right in line with my thoughts and more. Praise God! Teachers need encouragement. I know as I am a retired teacher who is a Christian. I will share this site with them. God bless you.

  • I’m not a teacher yet, in my last year of school, but I have been teaching a unit on central messages this week and its so difficult to stay motivated because my students are really struggling. It seems that eventhough I have always wanted to be a teacher, this has really been an eye-opener and discourages me. I have students who even when I give them the correct answer, still don’t understand what I’m trying to teach. Reading this kind of boosted my mood and I think you fellow teachers for keeping your heads up to hold the others up.


  • Thank you for this encouragement… I am in my 7th year of teaching. I have 30 BUSY kids this year and am struggling to understand and cope with the governments choice of forcing kids to take tests that I’m convinced a college student wouldn’t pass….and then tie my evaluation to it. The parents are full of back door agendas and question what I do with kids everyday. I have been so focused on getting that praise because it is encouraging…

    I love this and will print it out because it is also encouraging but also helps me change where my encouragement should come from! My heart is to have kids and families see a different light in me…I’ll continue to pray that God’s light shines through me…even though the negative! 🙂

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping to reset my perspective. I LOVE this article, shared it on my FB, and now I’m going to print it out to keep in my planning binder.

  • I am sitting hear crying tears of joy. I have felt so discouraged and sad, but the Lord is truly faithful and I am so grateful to you for writing these words of encouragement. Thank you so much.

  • The school I taught at for many years closed. I was blessed to be hired at a similar but larger school. I love teaching, students, and being able to share God’s message. However, the change has been very hard and I have felt like giving up. Tonight as I am again struggling, I read your message. Thank you. I need to change my perspective and allow God to guide me.

  • Thank you so much for this words of encouragement. It’s has pulled me up. I teach for God not for the rewards.

    the bible says surely they shall gathered but it’s shall not amount to anything therefore they will scatter in Jesus name.

  • Thanks so much!!! Everyone’s comments were very comforting and supportive!!! It’s so nice to know that there are other teachers out there that struggle with teaching and being confident as a teacher!!! Let’s all continue to use this site as a means to support, promote, and inspire each other!!!

  • Thank you for your continued words of encouragement. What a wonderful reminder of who we truly serve. I know that with the school I’m at, I also have to remind myself of who the real enemy is. It’s not the students, it’s not the administration, it’s not even the powers that be in the government. It’s the devil and I’m going to spiritual battle every day against him to the glory of God for my kids’ lives. So one more way for me to find encouragement is to put on the full armor of God and pray specifics over myself as I do so (such as asking that God help me to love my students the way He does when I put on the breastplate of righteousness). With this preparation and people like you who continually remind of the purpose we serve as teachers, I’m blessed to love the life I do. Again, thank you.

  • Thank you Ms. Linda for spending your time in encouraging teachers, though I am not a full time teacher I can still relate to those kinds of things. you are one of God’s instrument. God bless you.

  • Experiencing not only the craziness of the beginning of a new school year, but home life attacks that leave me wondering who are my support systems? God is in control. thank you for being my church family.

  • This was so encouraging. The stress of transition to a new environment and kids that seem to be unconcerned, but I can go on in the name of God, for he is whom I labor for. Thanks.

  • Thank you for the encouragement. I find myself constantly working through a to do list as a teacher, especially at the start of the new session. It is intense but it is worth it because we are trying to get it right for each child in our class.
    We live under an open heaven where God wants to pour out His blessing and love upon us so that we can bless others. Each child before me is a special creation made by Him and I am privileged to have some influence over their development and learning.

  • Thank you for your faithfulness to encourage us, even when we don’t leave a reply to say we’ve read it and appreciate it and you. God reminded me today that many of the yokes and burdens I carry every day He didn’t put on me – I did. He only asks me to walk with Him, and He will carry the burden and place His yoke on me, which is easy, because He is carrying the other part of the yoke, and we are in this walk together. He will give me the grace I need to face what’s ahead, the time I need to accomplish the tasks He set before me, and the strength to keep walking with Him. Thank you for reminding me to keep my attention on Him – He cares for me, for you, for us, for our students and co-laborers.

  • I’m not a teacher yet, one more semester of school left. But as I watch teachers leave school upset, grumpy, and unsatified I often wondered if I would eventually end up like them. They are great people but grumpy and unsatisfied by the weight of students who don’t care at the moment, parents who are upset with their teaching, & wondering why if they are making a difference. I am working in a kindergarten classroom this year and the teacher noticed my cross necklace. Immediately she mentioned this site. I am eternally grateful she did. I am reminded the real reason I am teaching & why it is so important to me. I feel like I am called to teaching because I love children deeply but I am doing it for Christ, no one else. He is the one who can judge me. This site, the podcasts, blog, and everything in between has reminded me that I can do it, it’s what I am called to do!

  • I save the thank you notes I receive from students and parents, and then on a discouraging day I take them out and read them. One year on my birthday I read my whole file of notes instead of correcting papers for a birthday present to myself. My husband who taught 32 years in the public schools, taught me to keep my notes to read later.

    Thank you for your encouragement. I do feel called to teach here in a Christian school, and I thank God for the unity of the staff in approaching education with a Christian worldview.

  • I want to say “Thank You” for your encouragement! It is so easy to get bogged down in all that teaching involves. I am so grateful that God is using you to help minister to teachers and encourage us to keep God at the forefront of all we do. It can be hard to remember these truths when we are swimming uphill every day, and I am thankful that you are a light we can look for to get us back on track to our true calling – following Jesus!

  • Thank you for redirecting my focus towards serving God in my teaching and keeping Him as my number 1 priority and the provider of all my needs.

  • What a blessing!! These words of encouragement and all of the uplifting comments are right on time. It is always a good reminder to redirect our focus on the Lord instead of all of the distractions that Satan throws at us. We have to remember that teaching isn’t about us, or about our administrators, or even about the kids we teach, but rather it’s about glorifying God. Therefore, when we get discouraged, frustrated, and overwhelmed, we just need to shift our focus to God and remember the real reason why we teach. We teach because it’s our calling!!!!!

  • Hello,
    What a great article! I wanted to let you know that I included a link to this article on my blog post entitled
    “Some Teacher Encouragement.”

    Thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement for our wonderful teachers!


  • I am actually a student of a teacher who was very stressed and I showed this to her. She literally busted into tears and said “This was made for me. Thank you God.” I am so glad someone took the time to make this

  • Today has been a hard day. I had to take a moment to read something to pick me up. This brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Thank you for putting this out there. We need it.
    A tired, but grateful teacher

  • Yes! God is Who we do it for! He will make our paths straight if we lean on Him and trust Him! Thank you so much for this! I needed it!

  • I was actually searching the internet for an apt devo to use in my Creative Teaching class when I stumbled upon this.

    Your devo literally made me CRY! What a great reminder that all we are doing are ultimately for God. So although the things we do are important, nothing compares to our service to Him. This is a great and timely encouragement for me even as a veteran seminary professor. Thank you very much!

    – From the Philippines

  • What a wonderful devotional-I will be sharing this with the rest of our staff at our Christian school. As someone who has experienced 30+ years of teaching (some stressful, some not), this spoke to me in a way few other devotionals have. It made me cry. Thank you so much for these words of blessing.

  • You must encourage yourself by praying and reading Godś word daily. My favorite scripture is Ephesians 3:20. Now unto Him who is able to do carry out His purpose and do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen

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