Teachers. God bless ’em.
It’s the most demanding occupation on the planet, certainly the most rewarding, and unquestionably the most underpaid.
Teachers have a great role model in our Savior.
A quick Bible study. The Lord Jesus is not called the Master Teacher without cause. Take one chapter of the gospels, Mark 8, selected completely at random. Note the questions the Lord asks…
v. 5 “How many loaves do you have?”
v. 12 “Why does this generation seek for a sign?”
v. 17 “Why do you discuss that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart?”
v. 18-20 “Do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” “And when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?”
v. 21 “Do you not yet understand?”
v. 23 “Do you see anything?”
v. 27 “Who do people say that I am?”
v. 29 “But who do you say that I am?”
v. 36-37 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
13 questions in one chapter. Clearly, the Master Teacher knew this to be a great teaching technique. Get the class to thinking, probing, analyzing. Answers they arrive at will fortify them far more than those handed down complete and intact from an authority figure.
You can see the Lord’s use of spaced repetition, great metaphors, unforgettable stories, and problems. He was the consummate Teacher.
Thank God for the great teachers among us…
My journal for 19 years ago has this note: “Someone once said, “Tell me who your teachers were and I’ll tell you who you are.” A later note in the margin said this: “Actually, I made that up. But it sounds profound, doesn’t it?” (Smiley-face here, please.)
In 1947, a physics professor at the University of Chicago offered a seminar that only two students signed up for. At the time, the professor was living in Wisconsin doing research at an astronomical observatory, and to teach the class, he had to navigate some country roads in the heart of winter twice a week. Everyone expected him to cancel the seminar since so few had signed up. But he didn’t. Twice a week he made that arduous trip for the two students. Ten years later, both students were awarded the Nobel prize for physics. Then, 25 years later (1983), the professor won the same prize.
I love teaching and I love teachers. It’s one of the greatest life-callings a person can have.
A mentor I know tells teachers not to worry about the number in their class, because after all, they’re not teaching 12 or 15 or 22. They are teaching one person here and one person there and another one here. One at a time.
I am the product of some wonderful teachers.
–A first grade teacher who made learning fun and gave the class an atmosphere of love. Thank you, Marguerite Gilder at Nauvoo (AL) Elementary.
–A teacher who had me for the third, fourth, and fifth grades and gave me a lasting love for reading and story-telling. Thank you, Margaret Meadows, Affinity (WV) Elementary.
–A high school teacher who enjoyed the opportunities which interruptions provided to do some real teaching. Thank you, J. H. Whitson, at Winston County High, Double Springs, AL.
–A college history professor who made the past come to life before our eyes. Thank you, Mae Parrish at Berry College, Rome, GA.
–A college education teacher who believed in me and made me feel special. She even attended our wedding. Thank you, Marjorie McWhorter, Birmingham-Southern College.
–And a seminary professor who shocked the class with his creative sense of humor and by knowing a great deal not only about the Bible but also the morning newspaper. Thank you, George Harrison, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
These are some of my teachers and role models. If you know me, you are not surprised.
At this moment, several future presidents of the United States are enrolled in various elementary schools. Future Nobel winners are sitting in someone’s classes right now.
Teach as though you are the teacher who will make a lasting difference on one who will someday touch the world.