When I was a child I was given two choices for my life. My father insisted, “Little girls grow up to be either a teacher or a nurse.” Considering my only options, I chose teaching and went off to the area’s best teacher’s school, Glenville State College. Four years later, I graduated. They successfully filled my head with every strategy necessary to teach elementary children the essentials of readin, ‘ritin, and ‘rithmetic. Did I mention the college was in West Virginia? 😉
But I had started teaching long before I graduated from Glenville. When I was a little girl, I would line up my dolls in neat rows on my bed and teach them everything I had learned in school that day. I remember times of necessary discipline and even spanking that disrespectful, back-talking doll. It is a huge credit to Glenville that I learned better control of the classroom before I was placed before live children.
Most of last year, I spent time each day reading and re-reading the Gospels. My teacher’s heart caused me to search for the qualities in Jesus that made Him the Master Rabbi. I can say He was the Master Teacher because He was without sin, had all knowledge, and an unlimited supply of self-control. He would need all the fruit of the Spirit to deal with His students. Am I hearing a few amens from my public school teachers who know daily what I mean?
Here are a few of the attributes I found in Him which are necessary for those of us who profess to teach.
A master teacher becomes the lesson. A student should have difficulty separating the instructor, the objective, and the presentation. The three together in the classroom should reveal the teacher’s passionate love of the subject, love of the students, and love of teaching. Revealing the Father was the heart of all Jesus’ lessons therefore with confidence He could declare, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Every word I speak and every work I do is from my Father to you.” He didn’t have a need for the teacher’s manual or class notes; He lived the lesson with genuine zeal and effectiveness.
A master teacher teaches until the lesson is learned. In the classroom of life, the lesson is not over until life ends. Jesus used every minute of everyday until He breathed His last to teach His goal. In His last discourse to His disciples, we see that it took the entire three years of His ministry before He could say to them, “You believe at last!”
A master teacher uses a variety of teaching methods. There were times when Jesus delivered eloquent and powerful lectures in order to reach a group with the most information in a limited time period. Crippled bodies, fig trees, and even the dead became His visual aids. But I think the most powerful lessons were learned on the field trips: on a lake in a torrential storm, on a mountaintop with Moses and Elijah, or among multitudes of hungry people. To teach servanthood, He washed feet. To teach God’s power, He performed miracles. To teach His love, He touched lepers. To teach the Father’s grace and mercy, He died on the cross.
I’ll stop here for this week. I have several more attributes to share. But the day is beautiful and I feel my Rabbi calling me outside for a hands-on lesson about His creative nature. Wish you could join me!