Problem of the Human Heart

 

Photo by kean.edu
 
 
 
It has been interesting to read up on the cheating scandals of teachers from Atlanta to Philadelphia. It was reported that 178 principals in Atlanta were accused of cheating. Also, schools in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C. are under investigation.

You would never imagine a teacher whose main purpose is to educate children would help their students cheat on a standardized test. Was I that surprised? Well, not really.

This just reaffirmed that in any profession, no matter what it is, there is always room for compromise and moral miscalculations because we are wicked to the core. Simply put, at the core of who we are, we are selfish. It is has been the problem ever since the fall of humankind.

As I gave this situation some more thought, I realized that no one is exempted.

Many people who go into teaching, go into it because they are idealistic and they want to make a difference in the world. They are willing to take on a low paying job in some of the hardest and toughest cities to bring hope to children for a better future with a good education.

But somewhere along the way, they lose sight of their purpose.

After years of teaching, it is easy to see how disappointments, disillusionments, and dissatisfaction can slowly creep into the picture. It is at this point, rather than renewing their hearts they just “settle” for the paycheck and security. This is when things get very dangerous. It is like a perfect storm waiting to happen.

The teachers’ bonus pay, the schools’ rating and even their jobs are all at stake if the students do not perform well on the tests.

In an NewsOne article, an author explains the situation in such a way to put blame on the system rather than having the teachers take responsibility.

Casey Gane-McCalla writes,

“What we should learn from the recent teaching scandals is not to demonize our teachers, especially those brave enough to work in urban schools, but rather to change the culture of stress and test-based ratings. When people believe the game is fixed, they cheat. Administrators and politicians have fixed the game with their test based environment, where are all they see of teachers and students is test numbers. Teachers cheat to help their students, their schools and themselves. Teachers have become cynical and demoralized by the challenges they face and the pressure from politicians and administrators. Can you blame them? The problem with teachers isn’t teachers cheating the system, but the system cheating them.”

 
 
While this writer makes a good observation from his experience in teaching in the New York school system in South Bronx, does this get to the core of the human problem? It is always easier to blame someone else (or something else) for our behavior. But until we learn how to take responsibility for our actions, we will never be able to do what it takes to “do the right thing.” Then we miss the opportunity to set the example for the next generation.

This is when I thought about my “profession” as a pastor.

If we, as pastors are not careful, we can easily fall into the same temptation. It would be too easy for us to lose our sense of calling and purpose. Please continue to pray for your pastors and leaders. Pray that they would serve with purpose, passion and principle.