Teaching has been a part of my life since I was a college student. Beginning with Sunday School classes and teaching practicums, this has been a wonderful journey for me. Here are some things I have learned about the teaching process.
1. Preparation and expertise is are ongoing processes
People who teach are on a journey. Its a journey of learning, implementing, teaching, and again back to learning. The process continues as we develop as a person and as a teacher. Its not possible to claim that you have mastered any subject. You just have some basic knowledge, and you continue to learn.
2. Continuously put things in the broad perspective
Students need to be continually reminded of the big picture. Why are we studying what we study? This applies to classes in Sunday Schools to Seminaries. If they don’t get the big picture, they quickly loose focus.
3. Don’t impress, but aim for clarity
Although it is important to be likable, the focus should not be to impress. Trying to impress students with your vast knowledge and ability can simply backfire. Focus your attention on providing clarity to your subject. Give them opportunities for that “Aha” moment where learning leads to discovery and passion.
4. Focus on life-change and comprehension than finishing the lesson
As a teacher, you are responsible to finish the course outline. But that should not be your main focus. Aim for life-change. Make sure that your students leave your class as a changed person. Focus your teaching on impacting their hearts, not just their minds.
5. Connect at a personal level rather than “positionally.”
Although you are the “Teacher,” make sure to connect with the students at a more personal level. Be vulnerable as an individual who is struggling to learn and make that life change in yourself. Go beyond your position as the teacher, and become much more.
6. Start from where they are and bring them along with you
With whatever subject you teach, figure out where they are at the present. Ask questions at the beginning of the course. Take note of ongoing class discussions and evaluate where they are in their thinking and practice. These discussions help you to see if they are coming along with you or if you’ve left them behind much earlier.
7. Continue to learn from the Master Teacher
Jesus is our best example of one who teaches with his life. He is the Master Teacher from whom we can learn. Develop and maintain your relationship with Jesus. As your life is enriched through a relationship with Jesus, that will overflow from your life to your students.
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