what is a teacher?

Image of person reading book

I am a teacher. I convey information in an orderly fashion, with a method that corresponds to the aptitude of the learner. Some may think that to qualify to be a teacher you only need a headful of knowledge and a willing audience of students ignorant of the knowledge you possess.  But doesn’t the sum total of a teacher go further?  Isn’t it above just having information and then telling others? Yes, there is so much more!

3 elements of a great teacher

There is a huge gap between being a grandpa who wants to teach his grandkids about how an airplane can stay in the sky and a college professor who is teaching his students how to understand quantum theory. There are different types of teachers but the most excellent teachers share these three elements: dedication, education, and a love for your students.

dedication and determination

I am a teacher. I am a Christian teacher. Often my teaching is dedicated to advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul, a master teacher, wrote to Timothy in II Timothy 2:1-2: So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. Pass on what you have heard from me, the whole congregation saying Amen! To reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. When the going gets tough. Take it on the chin with the rest of us. The way Jesus did. (The Message) At every level of teaching there are difficulties which you will encounter (like Grandpa explaining how that plane stays in the air!), but it is of the utmost importance to get the Christian truth out, so that people can decide for themselves what is true and what is not. It takes both dedication and determination to stay the course.

you have to know who god is

But dedication is not enough, we must also be educated. The Apostle Paul also wrote that God has given us evangelists, apostles, prophets, pastors, and teachers to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity of the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature. (Ephesians 4:11-13). To prepare God’s people can mean different things, but one thing for sure, it involves education. Education is essential in helping people to know and follow Jesus Christ. To really follow God, you have to know Who He is.

jesus, the ultimate teacher

Jesus Christ was the ultimate teacher. He was dedicated, so much so that he was willing to die for his students. (now that is dedication…). He was also educated. The Bible doesn’t say much about his childhood, but it does say “he grew and became strong in spirit”. His education was proven when at the age of twelve He instructed the teachers in the temple, much to their amazement. Jesus was an amazing teacher who loved His students.

i was feeling like a failure

For about 4 years I was the Bible teacher at the local “Bible Adventure Club” held at New Providence Church of God. To be honest, it was not my favorite time of the week. I liked all the other leaders, and I enjoyed the students. The fly in the ointment was that I only had about 15 minutes with the kids for the lesson and was very limited in visual aids. I was frustrated every week. I finally resigned, feeling like a failure.

the plaque that changed my life

There was a leader who was also very creative that made up a plaque to show their appreciation for my teaching every week. The words on the plaque were: “For every lesson you’ve prepared, the love of God has been shared. Thank you, Mr. Bill.”  I read that plaque about once a week (it hangs in my office). It is a necessary reminder that all my preparation and education is useless without the love of God! I am not a failure but a work in progress.

is god calling you to be a teacher?

Is God calling you to be a teacher?  Whether to a few students or to many?  Are you willing to stay the course? Dive deep into the material so it becomes part of your own life fabric before you impart it to others? Are you willing to love your students, despite all the bumps in the road? Teaching is a gift and a calling.  It is not for the faint-hearted, but it is foundational to having people know and follow Jesus Christ.

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