Johnny Ellison: Teacher is not spelled P-A-R-E-N-T

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As we prepare for school, I would like to have a short spelling lesson.  This lesson is in regard to the word teacher.  Believe it or not, teacher is spelled t-e-a-c-h-e-r and not p-a-r-e-n-t.

My wife Elissa is a wonderful wife, mother, and teacher.  She taught full-time in the public schools, full-time in private schools, part-time in a private school, part-time in public school, and now she is full time again in a public school. Elissa enjoys teaching, and is one of the best teachers I know.  Sometimes, though, parental expectations make it difficult to be a great teacher.

For example, I recall a time when a mother asked for daily progress reports for her child.  Elissa agreed as long as the parent agreed to sign them everyday return them to school.  The mother objected because that was “too much work” on her.  Translation:The parent was not willing to do something she expected of the teacher.

A little boy misbehaved in class to the point of distracting the other students.  The parents were called in and the situation was explained.  They blamed the teacher for not being able to discipline the boy.  Later it was discovered that the boy was out of control at home too.  Translation: The parents expected the teacher to do something they were not doing.

The role of a teacher is to build on the foundation which the parents have already laid.  If a child comes to school with a poor foundation, the teacher is working at a great disadvantage.

Webster’s dictionary defines the word parent as “one that begets or brings forth offspring.”  At the same time Websters defines the word teacher as “one who teaches.”  Note the differences between these two roles.  Parents produce offspring and prepare them to go forth.  Teachers receive the product of the parent’s preparation and build upon it.  If a parent sends a poorly prepared child to a teacher, then chances are that the product will not be great.

God did not design school teachers to be the primary instructors for children.  He gives the parents this job.  In Deuteronomy 6:4-7 God says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

In this biblical example God was referring to parents instructing children in His wisdom and instruction.  Translation:  the parents are supposed to be the primary teachers of their children.  And, while the parents are to be the primary teachers of their children, the school teachers are not to be parents.

I am the parent of three children, and I am aware that as this world gets more dangerous the stakes get higher.  At all costs, parents must take up their roles as the primary instructors and teachers of their children.  Teachers and school systems are easy targets to shoot at when our children are not taught and trained well.  However, the best schoolteacher in the world cannot overcome a lack of spiritual, mental, moral and emotional training at home. In other words, teacher is not spelled p-a-r-e-n-t.