Thoughts about Teaching – 3 Simple Reflections
I have been silent in my postings for the past few weeks. The past few weeks had been quite hectic for me. It coincides with a busy period in my work life. On top of that, I was going to start teaching a series of Bible study on Ephesians in my church zone. And I was starting my bi-annual module on Church History in our HopeSem. Because I was so engrossed in preparing my materials, I had to pull a stop to my postings. However, preparing for my classes yielded a few thoughts about teaching that I hope to share in this post.
Thoughts about Teaching #1: My teaching ministry depends a lot on God’s grace
One of my thoughts about teaching came from my recent experience in trying to manage my teaching classes. I gradually realised that as a volunteer teacher serving in church, I need to depend a lot on God’s grace to get my work done. This is not easy given that I am holding a full time secular job. I remembered for my first HopeSem lesson this year, I wasn’t confident that I will reach on time due to last minute commitment. The subsequent three classes were the same.
On reflection, it was by the grace of God that I was able to make it for the classes. But this applies even beyond that. Throughout the whole experience, I had also struggled to find time to prepare for the classes. Nevertheless, somehow, God also enabled me to complete my preparation for the next class. As a history student teaching on the topic of church history, there is always the pressure of ensuring that I get all the historical facts correct and am able to string together all the materials together. There is the fear of under-preparation.
Somemore, I needed to prepare in such a way that I do not just impart pure knowledge but that my students are able to see God’s hand in history. This is not a human endeavour. It is truly an experience that God’s grace remains sufficient for me even in my weaknesses.
Thoughts about Teaching #2: My teaching ministry needs to aim to serve other people
The second of my thoughts about teaching is that the ministry must aim to serve other people. It cannot become my pursuit for self-glorification. It is easy for anyone to aim to stand in front of a crowd in order to impress other people. This is normal of any human being. It is actually more difficult to come with a desire to serve other people. What this means is this: we bear in mind what the other party needs to hear and learn rather than bearing in mind what we really want to say.
This actually calls for intentionality and preparation on the part of the teacher to think through what he needs to say. It means that we need to bear in mind who we are talking to. And I realise that I have the tendency to do otherwise. This is one of my developmental points as a teacher in a teaching ministry but it is something that I am increasingly aware of.
Thoughts about Teaching #3: My students deserved to get the best from their teachers
Related to my second thought is that my students deserved to get the best from their teachers. This means that at the end of the day, the teacher needs to achieve his learning objectives for the students. What this entails is that the teacher, who is myself, has to put in his best effort to prepare his materials selectively, not just cobbling everything he can find in his research. Sometimes, our students can learn more when we teach less and not focus on too much unnecessary details which may cloud learning.
At the end of the day, it is about the students, not about the teacher. This is similar to any ministry. The ones who is ministered are more important than the one ministering. Primarily also because the one ministering is the one whom God uses. God could use anyone but He merely chooses us to minister to the people.
So what are your other thoughts about teaching? Do share with me in the comments below.