“We teach because, when we become teachers, we have better opportunities to do what we are already obligated to do.”
Doak S. Campbell
An antique book about teaching came into my presence this weekend. My husband found it in some of his great aunt’s boxes, that had been long forgotten, in the barn. The book is titled, When Do Teachers Teach. The copyright on the book dates back to 1935. It was written specifically for Sunday school teachers, but I found some great lessons that could apply to any teacher. In fact, the first chapter lists “why” teachers teach. I thought it quite appropriate to revisit them since the whole idea behind this blog is to remember why we teach and who we teacher for.
1. Teaching is a Fundamental Need– This is true because God has so made us that we grow in knowledge and grace and power as we share our experiences with others. Teaching is also a fundamental need of the learner. Growth- physical, mental, spiritual- is a characteristic of every living person. The process goes on continuously.
2. Christ Commands Teaching– Do we teach because Christ commands it? “To obey is better than sacrifice”; but God does not expect blind obedience. The reasonableness of his commands may be recognized, and compliance is always possible. The sublime command of Christ to teach all nations, to baptize them, to teach them to observe all that he has commanded, is a command to every Christian everywhere.
3. Teachers Ought, Owe It, to Teach– In Hebrews (5:12) it says a significant word to all believers: “When by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers…” Ye “ought,” ye owe it to be teachers. Having been themselves taught, these people owed it to teach others. Having learned they were under obligation to teach. Knowledge involves stewardship. Every living soul who knows God and his revealed word is solemnly bound to teach what he knows to others.
4. Teachers Are Asked to Do Only That Which All Christians Should Do- The teacher is asked to live an exemplary Christian life and to support the church (or school) with his presence and prayers? He is called to study the Scriptures and to give their message to others. He is asked to give his energy and time, even to make sacrifices, that he may be a spiritual guide to others. He is to give his life and heart to personal companionships and friendships with a view to helping and guiding growing life.
5. The Skills Required of Teachers Are Helpful In All Walks of Life– Whether people admit it or not, all people are to some extent teachers.
6. Teachers Teach Because of What They Have to Share- the great truths of the Bible are the imperative and urgent needs of all from earliest childhood until the end of old age.
- Enriched Personality
7. Teachers Teach Because God Is A Teaching God- The fact that He is a teaching God is even more clearly seen in the fact that his Son, who was “the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person,” came to the earth as a teacher. Through a teaching ministry Jesus revealed the Father; through teaching-learning processes he still wins men to salvation and service. He ordained that through teaching ministries the good news of life and salvation should be carried to all the world: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples (learners) of all nations… teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: an lo, I am with you always even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28: 19, 20).
All of my grandparents were born in the 1920s. It is interesting to imagine if one of them might have been instructed, in Sunday school, by these truths. Can these beliefs transfer to the modern classroom teacher? I think we can all agree that:
- Teachers are necessary
- Teaching is a calling
- We owe it to others to teach
- Through prayer and studying the scriptures, we will gain the wisdom to daily live full in our faith.
- Teaching effects eternity
- We have more to share than just the subject we teach
- God has patiently taught us, so we will patiently teach others
When put into different terms, it is clear that the Sunday school teacher’s guidelines of yesterday, are still applicable to the modern day classroom of today. Teachers are a special lot. We must continually remind ourselves why we got into this profession, where we find our strength, and Who the ultimate teacher really is! You may be the only Christian example some of your students encounter. What will their impression be?…
“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Deuteronomy 32:2