This morning I’m reading 1 Corinthians 13 – the well-known “Love Chapter” of the Bible. While reading it, I remembered something…
Somewhere in my stack of old manilla folders is the original copy of “A PE Teacher’s 1 Corinthians 13.” About 25 years ago, I learned about an elementary school principal who had paraphrased 1 Corinthians 13 from the viewpoint of a teacher. I copied his idea and came up with a version for a PE teacher. I couldn’t find it today, so here is an updated version:
A PE Teacher’s 1 Corinthians 13
If I am fluent in the many languages of the world and can speak so that all can understand me, but have not love, I am like a broken game buzzer disrupting and unpleasant. Or if I am a great motivator, able to get all of my students to reach the 85th %tile on a health-related fitness test, it is nothing at all without love.
If I have the gift of unsurpassed wisdom and can solve all of my classroom management problems, to get my students to line-up without pushing or arguing, and if I have a faith so that it never rains on a PE teacher’s Field Day anywhere in the world, but have not love, it is nothing.
If I sell our flat screen TV or my Mac laptop, and other treasured things on Craigslist and donate the money to the homeless in my community or if I were to die in a selfless manner – while helping others during an earthquake, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind. It does not brag. It does not point out the unskilled players or laugh at them, but rejoices exceedingly when all students make progress, especially those who struggle in class.
It is not rude. It puts others first. It says “Come play with me…, I’m sorry…, You can do it.” It keeps no record of wrongs or mistakes. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always endures.
When I was younger, I was selfish. I didn’t truly know how to teach, so I became “Coach.” Someone who couldn’t be questioned, was never wrong, who had status. But I was kidding myself.
I saw other physical educators truly loving their students, giving them something that I didn’t have. It was then that I decided to grow up. I wanted to be like them. So I became a man and I started to put away my selfish ways.
Today I will never be able to see the ultimate impact of my teaching on my students. I will never clearly see how they will turn out, what I could have done differently. What I know is just part of the story, not the ending.
But this I do know…
Now as a teacher, from the start of the first class, to the end of the last class – these three things will always remain:
My Faith in my students, my Hope for their dreams, and my Love. But truly, the greatest of these is Love.