Would you sign up for a fitness class with an instructor who barks out exercise moves while slouching in a recliner and snacking on candy bars and potato chips? Not likely! Would you take your car to a mechanic who holds a wrench in one hand and a copy of Quick and Easy Car Repair for Amateurs in the other? Hire a car salesman who doesn’t know a shingle from a showroom to repair the roof of your home? Pay good money to take a university chemistry class from a professor who wrote her thesis on Victorian poets? No, no, and no!
We expect those who provide a service to have expertise in that area and to be equipped to meet that specific need. The same applies to teachers: kids expect you to speak from experience when you teach—to “walk your talk,” as we say. Christian teachers, more than any others, must speak from their hearts so as not to bring dishonor to God’s name.
Do you want your children to grow and learn? Be sure that you are a model of growing and learning yourself. “The effective teacher always teaches from the overflow of a full life,” writes Christian educator Howard Hendricks. “The Law of the Teacher, simply stated, is this: If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow” (Teaching to Change Lives).
You’re on a journey—and you have not arrived at its end! As long as you are still breathing, there is something out there left to learn, some way left in which you can grow. It has nothing to do with age, and everything to do with attitude. The hunger you have for learning will be contagious—your kids will catch it from you. It’s a great “condition” to spread!
Have you thought about all of the ways you can grow? Here are just a few:
- Grow in biblical knowledge and understanding. Scripture is where your beliefs and Christian life are shaped. Nourish your soul with God’s Word every day.
- Grow in community. Your community of faith is a great source of challenge, encouragement, and understanding. God’s church is a body, and its members are meant to attend to each other’s needs. Become part of a class, a small group, a prayer cell, or a task force so that God’s people can keep you limber—and stretch you!
- Grow new skills. Even the most experienced teachers can benefit from further training. Take advantage of conferences, seminars, and workshops for techniques and skills that will improve your teaching and give you new insights into ways you can influence the children you teach.
- Grow in knowledge. Read books and magazines or surf the web to learn more about children’s development, new curriculum approaches, and the latest information about the amazing world we live in. Acquiring new ideas and information will make you a better teacher.
- Grow in grace. The best teachers realize just how much they still have to learn. Seeking grace for the journey suggests that you are teachable.
The last word on growing belongs to the lifelong learner, the apostle Paul: “We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work” (Colossians 1:10, The Message).