Faith at Work in Education: Lesley Roby

Getting to Know You.

I grew up in Lake Highlands and currently teach at White Rock Elementary School, which is the school I attended as a child.  This will be my fifth year teaching 4th grade.  On the side (Ha!) I am a mom to four incredible, high-energy kids.  I am passionate about and absolutely love both jobs!  Random fact about myself:  Daniel and I were high school sweethearts, and we have spent more than half of our lives together!

What do you do on a weekly basis?

My main tasks as a teacher include the following:

  • building relationship with students
  • lesson planning, development, and preparation
  • lesson implementation (including small groups and one-on-one support)
  • grading and assessments
  • communicate with parents and helping them remain actively involved in their child’s learning
  • studying and continuing my growth in becoming a better teacher

Overall, my job is to be an expert of each of my students, as well as the subject areas I teach.  I keep track of their academic progress and determine how to best differentiate my instruction to meet their learning goals.  Plan, implement, evaluate…this cycle is continual. 

How has your personal walk with Jesus impacted the way you work?

As I live in relationship with Jesus, he continues to give me vision for introducing children to him and seeing their lives transformed.  I absolutely love my students and see each of them as precious gifts, ones who are deeply loved by the Father.  I know He has incredible plans for their lives, and as I pray for them and get to know them, I can’t help but see them and love them as God does. 

 Practically speaking I am not the most creative person.  However, the Holy Spirit is constantly giving me creative ideas of how to teach specific skills in ways the kids can understand.  It is almost like he highlights really important or inspiring ideas and shows me how to incorporate them into the classroom.  I often lay awake at night thinking on these things and letting God show me how they will play out with the kids. 

With my co-workers, my hope is to always bring hope, encouragement, and honor.  I want our work culture to be full of these values, because I believe they allow people to experience God’s presence.  

Want to learn how Jesus fills our work with passion and purpose like Lesley? Download our free Faith Works course here. 

What challenges have you encountered as you walk your faith out at work?

It is often challenging to stay consistently positive and hopeful every day at work.  I find that the teaching culture is oftentimes bent toward complaining, and I end up giving into this some days rather than bringing hope and God’s perspective into our environment. I daily have to make a choice of contentment and thankfulness, almost being on guard with them.

How have you been able to represent or re-present Jesus through your job?

My hope is that I will be much more than a teacher to my students.  Jesus has given me a personal mission to love, inspire, and equip children to become life-long learners, that they may grow into all God created them to be and transform the cultures in which they live.  It is out of relationship with him that I am able to fulfill this mission and continue to dream with God about all the ways he is drawing these kids to himself.  I pray that every day the kids in my classroom will encounter Jesus through the way I love, encourage, and speak truth over them.  I take every opportunity to really get to know them, teach them kingdom values in our everyday interactions, and point them toward discovering God.  By the end of the school year, I hope that they are inspired to spend their lives making a difference by solving problems in the world that will help others. 

What are some lessons that God has taught you through your work that could help our blog readers?

God has taught me that every kid is loveable and every kid wants to be known.  At the beginning of the year, it can be easy to see the students’ weaknesses/shortcomings and even get frustrated and upset with them.  However, taking time to get to know them and let them know that they are important goes a really long way.  Not only does it allow me to see their strengths and gifts (which they all have), but it also communicates to them that I truly care.  The more sincere relationship I can build with them, the more they give me a place to teach, encourage, challenge, and correct them.  One way this looks practically is that I will invite individual students to have lunch with me in the classroom.  I do this often early on in the year with students who act out consistently, seem to be withdrawn or don’t have many friends, and ones who seem to be quieter or overlooked.  My goal is to get to have lunch with every student individually or in a small group of 2-3 at least once throughout the school year. 

Any books, lectures, mentors that have been inspirational to you in your field?

My favorite education books are The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller & The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. 

Inspirational books in experiencing God in your work and dreaming with him in your career are The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence & Restless by Jennie Allen. 

Want to learn how Jesus fills our work with passion and purpose like Lesley? Download our free Faith Works course here.