Sounds weird. One would think anyone willing to serve others, especially children, would be a humble person. After all, most people are not willing to even work with children. Unfortunately, humility can disappear quickly without us even realizing it. Teachers who are no longer humble are not as effective as they could be. Pride robs teachers of some of their most powerful tools, especially teachers trying to point their kids towards God.
So what are some signs you may have lost a little humility inspired effectiveness and how can you fix them?
- You tell Bible stories to your students without even glancing at the actual scriptures. It never ceases to amaze me. I have read Bible stories probably hundreds of times. Yet every now and then, I will see something in the scripture I never noticed before or realize I have been remembering a detail incorrectly. Read the actual scriptures before telling any Bible story to your class. Bonus points if you actually read parts or all of the story directly from the Bible to your class (the NIrV version is on a third grade reading level and great for this).
- You believe your students should focus on learning from you. Okay, this one is true to an extent. I have realized though, a slight shift in this thinking makes a teacher much more effective. I ask myself after every class “What did I learn from my students today?” No teacher is perfect. Something as simple as a student comment or reaction can teach you how to be more effective in your teaching. If you are as focused on learning from your students as you want them to be in learning from you, you will continually improve your teaching skills.
- You have no interest in reading articles, blogs or books on teaching, education or the Bible. The best teachers are learners and readers. If you are not constantly learning new things, your teaching will become stale. Check out new books, subscribe to blog feeds (Teach One Reach One has a newsletter signup which will deliver posts directly to your email.), read articles online – become an “expert” on teaching the Bible. Not everything you read will have value, but even the bad articles make you think about why you do what you do and if it is really as effective as it could be.
- You inwardly roll your eyes at the idea of teacher training or teachers’ meetings. There is nothing I hate more than attending workshops and meetings that are a total waste of time. I’m not suggesting you should spend time in a useless meeting instead of working to improve your lesson. It’s more the attitude I’m addressing here. There is value to attending good workshops and developing a strong team of teachers. When an opportunity arises, you should express more interest than eye rolling.
- You rarely if ever read the Bible for your own spiritual growth or pray. The older I get, the more I realize how important these two things are for anyone, but especially teachers. Teaching, as rewarding as it is, takes energy out of your cup. You must read the Bible for your own spiritual health and talk to God regularly. If not, I promise you will burn out – even if you continue teaching.
I’m sure there are other signs, but working on these will help you be a more effective Christian teacher. The teaching you do is so high stakes, you can’t afford to be ineffective.