What Is Good for the Goose…
The common English idiom, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” is frequently used when one wants to prove his point. My daughter will often chide me, “Can I have a piece of candy since Dom has one?” When a precedent has been set, it is tricky to get around it. Can the same idiom be used to compare student and teacher? If the student should study for class, shouldn’t the teacher? Too many teachers wrongly believe that college ends their professional training and that they no longer need to grow. Sure, a teacher may prepare for a class; but is that enough?
I would encourage every educator to continue his professional growth. If learning is good for the student, it is good for the teacher. Romans 2:21a says, “Thou therefore which teachest another, teach thou not thyself?” Paul’s reprimand could be rephrased this way: “You say one thing and do another.” We teach students to be on time, yet we are late. We teach them to study and work hard, but we do not study ourselves. Teaching is more than glancing over the curriculum. Students need more from you. They need history to come to life; they need math to be presented in a unique way that every student can understand and enjoy. They need you, the teacher, to care and work just as hard for them as you expect them to work for you. I know that most teachers in Christian education do not have the luxury of being a full-time teacher; many work part-time jobs or have other areas of the ministry for which they are responsible. However, please consider this: your work, or lack thereof, as a teacher will have a lasting impact on your students.
Most teachers have the desire to be better; however, they lack the motivation or encouragement to get started. How do you become a better teacher? Is there a special program or seminar that changes poor teachers into great ones? Changing poor habits or teaching methods can be difficult, and you can allow others to discourage you from trying to improve. Refuse to allow that to happen! Instead, determine that you are going to change, and stop making excuses!
Here are a few tips to help you get started.
There are hundreds of good books on education, both secular and Christian. Just begin reading, and you will be surprised how much you can learn. Most teachers teach the way that their teachers taught them. That is not always a bad thing, but not always a good thing either. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a suggested reading list.
- Rank under.
Other teachers and educators have already traveled down the road you are traveling. They have been there and done that. (Ecclesiastes 1:9) Find someone that will help you develop, a mentor. If there is no one at your school, make an effort to find someone to guide you – perhaps a former teacher or college professor.
The internet has made everything so easily accessible. Research your subject, and make it more exciting. Teaching history with just the textbook does not cut it. Find a manipulative that will work with your math lessonto ensure that your students not only understood the lesson but enjoyed it as well. Discover methods of teaching that will help you get through to all of your students and not just the bright ones. Every student learns differently, and it is your job to find a method to reach all of them!
- Respect your students.
It is amazing how well we treat people that we respect. If you respected your students, you would work harder and apply more time to the preparation of your lesson. You would treat them kindly and be more willing to give of your time to help them learn. I am not telling you to turn the reigns over to your class, but I am asking you to look at them as the future preachers and teachers of the world.
- Raise questions.
You will never know if your students have received the lesson unless you probe them. I am not referring only to the questions listed at the end of the chapter in a textbook. Ask them additional questions that are geared to determine how well they have learned and understood. If you are teaching a lesson on fractions, “What is 1/2 + 1/2?” is not a bad initial question. But if you want to know whether the student really understands the concept, ask him to give you an example of how 1/2 + 1/2 = 1. Be creative with your questioning.
This article certainly does not encompass everything involved in personal growth, but following these pointers will provide a good start. If learning is good for the student, it is good for the teacher. I would encourage you to take the time to evaluate yourself as a teacher.
Are you learning? Are you growing?