Either you were asked, or you volunteered. Either way, you’ve become a Bible class acim , a major responsibility. What are people expecting from you? Are they expecting anything from you?
Whether they are or not, that’s not what’s important. What’s important is to know what you should expect from yourself as a teacher so that you’ll know if you’re successful – even when all other indicators claim you aren’t.
For me, it’s difficult to see someone struggle to understand a concept when I feel I can’t explain it any better than I already have. What’s worse, though, is when I struggle to explain a concept because I don’t fully grasp the concept myself.
It’s in those moments I feel like I’ve failed as a teacher.
But it’s important to realize, as I’ve told myself time and time again, that the Bible is so deep (and I’m so human) that I simply can’t always have every correct answer to every question. One of the greatest pieces of advice I can give you, as a teacher to another teacher, is that saying “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer to someone’s question.
So until one of us is able to completely answer every single question as thoroughly as God Himself would answer those questions, the best way I know to help you be more successful as a teacher is to help you understand what you should demand from yourself as a teacher.
Unfortunately, too many teachers diminish their effective influence simply by not demanding the best of themselves. When you hold great expectations for yourself (whether others do or not), your students will come to hold great expectations for themselves.
Here are the nine major duties you should require from yourself as a teacher, not to intensify your influence, but to strengthen the resolve of those you teach and bring glory to God.
1. You must lead.
Notice this doesn’t say “you must be a leader.” You probably know a person or two who fill leadership positions, but aren’t well-suited for it. Either they aren’t gifted for it, or aren’t interested in it.
A person who leads is a leader, but not every leader leads well.
Your duty as a teacher is to lead your students’ minds. Whether you do this poorly, or better than anyone who’s ever lived, you are the one who guides their thoughts. No, this isn’t about manipulation. This is about setting the stage for learning.
2. You must guide.
As a teacher, you can control certain aspects of the class, but you can’t control everything. Unfortunately, the students’ desire to learn is something completely beyond your control. The old adage is true, “when the student shows up, the teacher will appear.”
Your duty as a teacher is not to force students into learning, but to guide them into learning. In other words, your duty is not to tell them what the Bible says, but help them (to want to) discover it for themselves. Your duty is to empower your students to pull the truth out, not to let them put their “truth” in.