Christian Character Traits I Learned From Teaching

by Bellinda Simanjuntak - May 23, 2024

When we think of teachers, we typically think only of how they teach their students. But can teachers also learn important lessons from their students?

Bellinda demonstrates a concept to her students. 

I’ve been teaching English for almost eight years now. I received my first training as a teacher when I was in junior high school. My dad, an experienced English teacher, was my mentor.

How could a junior high school student be trained as an English teacher? Well, our family operates a private English-language school at our home. Most of our students are at the elementary level, so they have minimal knowledge of the English language. Hence, I was trained to teach very basic English.

Teaching young children can be challenging! They are naturally curious, enthusiastic and energetic. Also, they are noisy, which can sometimes lead to boisterous situations that I have to handle. I often have to take a deep breath! However, as I learned more about children’s learning behaviors, I slowly realized that teaching requires spiritual characteristics to be successful.

The following are a few Christian character traits that I have found myself needing to develop as I work teaching young children.   


How difficult or easy it is for a student to absorb material will vary. Some students have a challenging time trying to learn. When I’m tempted to get frustrated and push them harder, I find it helpful to put myself in their shoes. You can’t help but be more empathetic when you do that.

Jesus highlighted the importance of empathy. When He saw the multitudes, “He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). 

Just as Jesus felt and practiced compassion and empathy, we should also.


Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When dealing with slower students―especially in the middle of a rowdy classroom—I must have patience. 

Many people, and I include myself, find practicing patience to be a challenge. But if we consider it, aren’t we like little children to God? Aren’t we grateful that He is patient with us? 

King David sincerely praised God, saying, “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth” (Psalm 86:15). 

Teaching young children has provided me the opportunity to learn and practice patience.   


Alexander Pope is quoted as saying, “To err is human.” Yes, even though teachers have more knowledge than their students, there are times when students actually correct their teachers. This occasionally happens when I misspell something on the writing board. 

It is humbling, but I try to acknowledge it and thank them. 

As Christians, we should always be ready to make corrections when we find we are wrong. God expects us to be humble because humility is the opposite of pride, one of the sins God hates (Proverb 6:16-19).   

The apostle Paul admonishes us to be humble and respect one another: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3). 

Listen and understand

Asking my students about their day is one of my favorite things to do in the classroom. Many will talk about their happy days, but some students say, “I had a bad day.” I sometimes take a few minutes to ask them why. I love to listen to their stories and try to encourage them. 

Our loving Father is always ready to listen to our prayers and the experiences and thoughts we share with Him. In Jeremiah 29:12 God says, “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.” 

God is compassionate and listens to us—because He cares about us (Matthew 15:32).

Grow and be a light

Being a teacher has taught me spiritual lessons and highlighted character traits I need to develop and grow in. By growing in these traits, we create better relationships with others—and become a brighter light of God’s way of life (Matthew 5:13-16). 

Bellinda Simanjuntak is a member of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association in Indonesia.

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