This year, for the first time in my life, I started teaching in a Special Religious Education class, commonly known as the Scripture class. It was a daunting thing to take on, but at the same time, I was eager to do it as part of my ministry training (by the way, I have begun my MTS Apprenticeship this year and the Scripture class is part of the job/training I am doing this year).
It’s something I had never done before. I didn’t even attend a Primary School in Australia. So, it’s understandable that I was so busy focusing on getting the teaching content ready and getting through it during the class. But, it dawned on me yesterday as I was preparing for the class that I hadn’t been as faithful as I should have been with the Scripture teaching. I felt that I had been doing the bare minimum to get by in the class. I was getting the teaching content ready so I won’t embarrass myself by running out of things to say, for example. I also felt that I had been lacking in prayer for my students.
After the class, on the way to my car, I met another Scripture teacher from my church. My class went reasonably well, I was thinking, despite the kids getting quite loud and distracted – we did manage to get through the material the way I hoped to do. But as I was talking to the teacher, I had to confess to her that I had realised that I hadn’t been as faithful in praying and preparing for my classes. And then she reminded me that it’s important to prepare thoroughly, but it’s perhaps more important to be there for those kids and through the relationships they will learn much about God and how wonderful He really is.
With that, I felt even more rebuked and convicted that I had been an awful teacher. I had been just so busy “doing” things in the class, I hardly paid attention to any of the students! Not only that, even I could see that some kids were becoming more disengaged because of the way I had related to them. I could give various excuses for this, being a first time teacher, in a system that I am not familiar with, with 20-odd number of kids who are very talkative, etc, etc, it’s hard to relate with them in the class in a generous, kind, patient, gracious, and helpful way. Nevertheless, these excuses do not make me a good teacher. I still have to confess that I had been an awful teacher.
I am thankful that God had brought this fact to my attention. I am glad to see it. But I am praying that God would so grow and equip me that I would be a better teacher for these young students. I am also praying that these kids under my care, albeit for only meagre half an hour once a week, would grow in their true knowledge of God and love Him who love us first for whole of their lives. Will you pray for me and for my students?