Dr. Dennis Demuth Superintendent
Adapted from Spirit Directed Discipline:
Helping Johnny and Susie to Behave
A Christian educator has two types of authority at their disposal to help them deal with the issues that come again them. These two types of authority are professional authority and spiritual authority.
Both types of authority are important in establishing and maintaining a successful classroom. Likewise, both types of authority are necessary in dealing with issues teachers face on a day-to-day basis; for example, rebellion, disrespect, deception, contention, meanness, rudeness and hatred, to name a few.
Both types of authority demand a power that is greater than itself. Professional authority is backed up by the principal, superintendent, and the school board, whereas, spiritual authority is backed by the power of God.
Teachers establish professional authority the very first day of school. This provides the foundation for success for the rest of the school year. When this foundation is not solid, the teacher will continue to struggle throughout the school year trying to maintain discipline in the classroom, hallways, or on the playground.
How to Establish Professional Authority
Clearly defined behavioral standards, established classroom routine, adequate subject preparation and ability to instruct are central to establishing professional authority in the classroom. Likewise, courage to do what is right, being just, standing firm in one's convictions, braving unpopularity with students and parents, and exercising tact are salient characteristics of teachers that students respect.
Classrooms where professional authority is evident are ones where teachers have turned good order in habit. Consistent routines provide clear direction for acceptable behaviors. Establishing strong transitional routines between activities reinforces good discipline in the classroom.
Teachers who exercise professional authority immediately correct deviations from the expected behavior. They make allowances initially for forgetfulness and they admonish students to make right decisions. Nevertheless, they do not allow these deviations to continue. Teachers, who constantly have to warn students and correct misbehavior, will be caught in a downward cycle of disorder eventually leading to classroom chaos and the loss of all authority.
Teachers can enhance professional authority by being good-natured. Some teachers can command respect by the very fact of their likable disposition.
When the teacher does not use authority in a constructive manner, the students will lose respect, resist, avoid, lie, or even retaliate against the teacher. If not careful, the teacher may try to instill fear in the student an attempt to cause change. However, fear only adds to the challenge. Eventually, the student and teacher will find themselves in a power struggle, which unless dealt with may last the entire school year.
Just as Christian educators must establish professional authority in the class, they can bring spiritual authority to bear in the classroom and in the lives of individuals.
Genesis 1:26 tells that man was given authority over the world, and when Adam sinned, he lost that authority and it was transferred to the prince of the earth. Now Satan has authority given to him by man.
Since authority must have a power to back it, the only authority that God backs is the authority given to man. Now that man has given it over to Satan, God is no longer going to back it. Thus, the only time that Satan can receive VCS Insights
power is when he receives it from man. He does this by presenting a lie in a certain situation or circumstance, or during a feeling. If he can get a Christian educator to believe that lie and to believe what they see or feel, and then get them to speak it out, then they release the power into the hands of the devil.by their words.
When Christian educators see circumstances within the school where there is an indication that it is the hand of the enemy, when they begin to speak out, believe the lie, and believe the circumstance, they are in effect delivering into the hand of the enemy that authority that Christ has already given them
Colossians 2:14-15 speaks of Christ through the cross, dethroning power and authority of the enemy. Jesus suffered for us as a substitute, and then He went to the one who had taken the authority and stripped him of it. He took away from Satan every bit of power and every bit of authority that he had received from man.
During the resurrection of Jesus, He made the statement, "All power is given unto me." Jesus delivered back into man's hands (Christian teachers) the authority originally given to him, according to Romans 5:12-17.Furthermore, Luke 10:19 says, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
Speaking the Word Releases Authority
You can release this authority, by speaking, and believing the Word of God. As a Christian educator, you have spiritual authority. When your professional authority does not bring a change in behavior, you can exercise your spiritual authority over the principalities and powers behind the inappropriate behavior, circumstances and situations you face. Simply take a stand and declare, '”According to God's Word this classroom is not to be dominated by these circumstances; but I am going to dominate and control them.”
As a Christian educator, you need to exercise your spiritual authority. When you do this, you will be less likely to be intimidated by students or by their behavior. Rather than turning away, you can confront their inappropriate attitudes, behavior, or speech.
Exercising Spiritual Authority
Christian educators have the spiritual authority to press students to change their behavior rather than being pressed to their limits by students who are
undisciplined. It is God's intent for Christian educators to rule and reign in the classroom.
Exercising your spiritual authority begins at the start of the day in elementary classrooms and at the beginning of each period in middle and high school ; start by speaking the Word as you open your class in prayer. For example, “Father, I thank you for every student in this class. I release the power of God to work in every student. I declare that during this class period (day), according to Phil. 2:13, You will be pleased by what each student does. I release the Spirit of God, according to Isa. 11:2, to quicken the understanding of each student to what will be taught. I release the Holy Spirit to facilitate teaching and help make learning happen, according to I John 2:20-27. In the Name of Jesus, I bind all strife, bitterness, anger, oppression, depression, bad attitudes, and disobedience. I release the peace of God in this classroom.”
Spiritual Authority as an Example
As you exercise your spiritual authority in the classroom, you are setting a pattern for your students. As they see you take authority over situations and circumstances, they learn that the spiritual authority exercised by their teacher can become their own, Over time students will learn to reign over their own behavior, circumstances, poverty, disease and everything that would hinder God's best in their lives and
As a Christian educator, you have been given authority; along with this authority comes the power of God. As a Christian educator, you need to take dominion of the classroom and classroom situations...situations within your own family and personal life, and situations that come to your attention. You have the authority to do it in Jesus' Name.
Using the authority backed by the power of God, you can pull down strongholds created by Satan in the area of math disabilities, reading disabilities, behavioral challenges, and any type of evil thing that allows man to be less than what God said He should be, and that is having dominion over the entire world.
For more information on this topic see “Spirit Directed Discipline: Helping Johnny and Susie to Behave.”