catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 10, Num 17 :: 2011.09.30 — 2011.10.13


Teacher traits

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

James 3:1

When I think about what James says, I wonder why anyone would want to be a teacher. My grandmother was one. I never heard her teach, but I’m convinced she was the epitome of a good teacher.

I’m not sure when she started teaching Sunday School, but she didn’t stop until she was in her seventies. And though I never sat in her classroom, I did read her notes, watch her prepare and listen to what others told me about her.

Many were the times I visited her on Sunday afternoon and found her preparing the lesson for the following Sunday. I thought, “You just finished teaching. Don’t you even take one day off?” But she didn’t. The commentaries were stacked on the table beside the couch and her Bible was open. With pen in hand, she steadily handwrote historical notes along with the insights she planned to share with her class. Then she poured over the notes until the following Sunday. She obviously took James’ warning seriously.

I’ve been teaching 26 years and find myself following her example. Although I use a computer and wait until Monday to begin preparing, my practices are similar to hers. And I’ve found her saying to be true: “The teacher usually learns more than the pupil.” I suppose my father pursued her example also because he followed the same procedures.

Good teachers are conscientious and conscientious teachers prepare. Somewhere along the line someone asked them to teach, they prayed about it and were convinced God wanted them to. They take their assignment seriously and carry out the logistics of teaching weekly with the same earnestness. They may not start preparing on Sunday or even Monday, but they realize if they are going to teach others they must be prepared by God, who instructs through time spent in his Word, by listening to his quiet voice and by praying over the assigned material.

Teachers who truly teach also do so by example. My grandmother was a living representation of what she taught and I’ve tried to be as well. Why? Because I know I’ll be judged more strictly. And because I know God has entrusted teachers with opportunities that carry great responsibility.

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