As long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher. I used to line up my stuffed animals and dolls in the basement and play school. I see teaching as my design; my calling. It took more than a few college degrees for me to understand this calling. It took time, experience, and reflection – both on my own practice and the methods of my ultimate mentor teacher, our Creator.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned about teaching is that it must be ENGAGING. I have been teaching at one level or another since the mid-eighties and I can tell you that what was engaging to learners then is not quite the same as what is engaging to today’s learners. This is true for adults and children. If teachers want to live out their calling, they must continue to find ways to make their instruction engaging. Passive learners who are sitting there quietly turning pages or copying notes from PowerPoint slides might make your classroom look “under control,” but students learn more when they are active.
If God taught us the way many still teach children, our lives might be controlled, scripted, and we would be taught to do things one way. Many of those with various disabilities would be left out of the training altogether. And, how would we be able to relate to our current culture? After all, many of our teachers think that the old fashioned methods are the only methods. They are busy making their classrooms look like the classrooms they attended instead of preparing their students for service in our current generation.
God is the master teacher! He takes all of us from where we are to deeper and deeper understanding of him in many unique ways, over time. He is always creative as he provides unique learning experiences for us. As we can see in his word and in our own lives, he uses the current situations we are in to teach us and make us more like Jesus. He does not discriminate; he works in and through ALL of those who choose to follow him, both disabled and non-disabled. We need to follow his example and prepare his Body for action in our current generation!
Christian educators: Let’s resolve this year to teach as our Creator teaches. Let’s prepare his Body for action in our current generation.