More than a Job

“More than a Job,” Ensign, Mar. 1988, 56–57

More than a Job

I was not deliberately seeking to return to teaching in January 1983, because my youngest child was still only six years old. I had, however, placed my name on a list for work as a relief teacher.

That month I received a letter from a local comprehensive school asking if I would like to be interviewed for a part-time post to teach a group of children who were finding it difficult to settle into secondary school life.

I was not keen to teach secondary age children, since my training was with younger ones. I prayed about it, though, and was moved at least to present myself for an interview. However, I was not convinced that what I was doing was right for me, remembering the teaching that, if possible, a mother’s place was in her home.

I began the day of my interview with prayer and found myself praying fervently that I would listen to the Spirit and do what the Lord desired. Deep down I felt that I would not be offered the post; I felt that the time was not yet right for me to resume my career, even though I loved to teach and enjoyed children.

Imagine my surprise when, after a long interview, I was offered the post and I heard my voice accepting without hesitation. I left the school in a daze. I was confused and afraid, but also excited and pleased. I kept asking myself, “Am I right to work when my family is still young?” I agonized for the few days until the new term began and I was driven to my knees in an attempt to come to terms with my feelings. I fasted and petitioned my Heavenly Father to help me understand the decision I had seemed to make without conscious thought. I was even prepared to contact the head of the school and make some excuse not to accept the post—but something prevented me from taking that step.

On the day the term was to begin, I set out toward the unknown. I was still not sure that I could teach after a lapse of eleven years. I prayed hard that day until I stood in the empty staff room and looked across the River Dee to the Welsh hills. I felt totally alone. I wanted to run!

The beautiful view and the scudding clouds calmed me and I whispered, “Heavenly Father, I shouldn’t be here, this is not for me.”

Then I felt, rather than heard, a sweet, calm voice saying, “Christine, you are here because I want you to be. You have a work to do for me. Teach these children and serve me.”

I humbly bowed my head and, with tears in my eyes, promised my Heavenly Father that I would serve him to the best of my ability and plant gospel seeds. I entered the classroom with joy in my heart and a fervent desire to teach by the Spirit.

I taught those young people for two terms. I grew to love them and learned to help them. We did not break academic records, for they had educational problems, but we learned self-confidence, and we came to know that Jesus Christ was our friend.

As I drove away from the school on my last day, I left a great deal of love behind me, but I took a lot with me. And more important, I knew I had planted seeds of gospel teachings that, one day, would bear fruit.

  • Christine Anderson, a schoolteacher, teaches Relief Society and Sunday School in the Birkenhead Ward in England.