** DISCLAIMER!! I am NOT a Master Teacher, but I do desire to be one some day.**
All quotes (except scripture) come from TEACHING: the heart of God’s redemptive program by Rev. James M. Hatch. I encourage you to read What is Teaching? PART 1 and What Should be Our Teaching Standard? Part 2 and How is a Master Teacher Recognized? Part 3 first.
If you remember, a teacher is to be like a train engine. The cars link to the engine and it is the job of the teacher to lead the cars, the students, to the final destination.
So how should we interact with students so they will follow? By understanding them? By accepting them? By loving them? “The reality seems to be the total involvement of one person (teacher) with another total person (pupil).” (Hatch, 17)
Jesus interacted with children. In fact, the disciples wanted to shoo the kids away and Jesus told them to stop! (Mark 10:13)
Perhaps the best way to learn how we should interact with our students is to examine an example of teachers who did NOT interact well with their students.
Enter the Scribes and Pharisees. (John 8) They were the leaders and teachers of Jesus’ day. They were to teach the people how to live and please God.
With these “would be” teachers was a woman who had been caught in adultery. The Leaders *should* have taught their people to not commit adultery.
And so they brought this woman before Jesus and placed her in the midst of everyone. Have you ever done this before? Perhaps a child forgot her Bible, or didn’t know his memory verse, or didn’t bring her homework, and so “in the midst” of everyone you scolded that child.
Put yourself in the place of that woman who is in the midst. “How would you feel? Do you think you would be in a position to learn anything? You will never learn anything that way.” (Hatch, 19)
Did these religious teachers have a goal, a destination, for this woman? Yes! They began to spout out what the woman had done and what the law of Moses was and that she should be stoned. The fact is that they weren’t even concerned about this poor woman. They wanted to trap Jesus!
I love what Jesus does next!
“He who is without sin may cast the first stone,” Jesus stooped down and wrote in the sand. One by one the leaders dropped the stones, turned, and left. Jesus then stood up and said,”Woman, where are your accusers?”
“Can you hear the voice, can you feel the heart, can you see the look on His face as He turned to her? She saw it, she felt it…..Do you think she ever committed adultery again? Never!” (Hatch, 19-20)
Jesus understands people.
Not only did he teach the woman of adultery, but he taught the teachers! By saying, “He who is without sin…” he showed the teachers their lack of understanding. Did they understand the people they were to teach? No. How come? Because they had sin in their hearts!
Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7: 1-5 NASB
Let’s go back to our metaphor from the beginning. For the train to work properly, then the engine must be in good working order. Then for the cars to follow, they must be strongly connected to the engine. “God’s method [of teaching] is to break the human heart…When my heart is broken and filled with the love of God, even if I know nothing about human behavior, even if I know nothing about children, I will do that which is necessary to be involved with them.” (Hatch, 22)
When you do not have a successful lesson, or there is a disconnect with a certain child, look at your own heart.
God wants those who teach His word to be far from sin. Yet we sin every day! He wants to deliver us from being as the Pharisees were: proud, and seeing themselves as right and everyone else as wrong.
“Just as soon as I look to the Lord Jesus, He will tear my heart to pieces —He will break me down flat! Trusting in myself? No!…Who gets the glory? Where did I get the knowledge?…In whom am I trusting? I am trusting in the Living God. Anything accomplished? Oh yes!” (Hatch, 23)
A teacher who has his heart right with God, and every log out of the eyes, can now see clearly. NOW a teacher can study a child and see the best way to teach him or her.
A teacher should study these concepts in order to understand a child:
1) Know the Home: “Home should be a model of heaven.” (Hatch, 24) If you want to understand a child, go to his home and compare it to heaven. If the home is troubled, then expect a troubled child.
2) Know the Cultural Patterns: I live in the south. We have church everywhere and many of the adults in the area grew up in church, even if they do not attend one now. When my husband and I lived in Maryland, we had a hard time finding a church listed in the phone book. That culture was different than the culture I am in today. We adults must also realize that the culture our children are dealing with today is vastly different, faster, and more revealing than when we grew up. Romans 12 tells us to not conform to the world. We must teach God’s culture and how to conform to it.
3) Know the Person Himself: This may take years, but it is important to remember that each child has a FREE WILL. “You cannot teach a person whose will is set against you. You cannot teach a child whose will is set against God. ” (Hatch, 26) We must also realize that each child has an EMPTY CUP, or tank, that is longing to be filled up with LOVE, RECOGNITION, and SECURITY. If they do not get the cup filled at home, they will fill it somewhere else, so fill it with Jesus when you teach.
Teachers also need to understand that we can only teach one student at a time. How many do you have in your class? I can have anywhere from twelve to thirty. When you read John 13, Jesus was surrounded by his twelve disciples. But he had TWO groups: Judas, and the rest of the disciples. He had TWO groups. Not ONE. So Judas had to go. Then the group was united. Then Jesus could teach them.
We must be broken. We must be understanding. We must be observant. We must be peacemakers. When we are, then our students will have no problems learning from us.
So what is the Learning Process?
…To be Continued……………….
**Clip art used by permission from http://www.christiancliparts.net