What makes a good teacher?
We’ve all had a certain teacher that has come across our path at one point in time and has left an indelible mark in our lives, right? Either in school, or university, or basketball team, or dance academy, or maybe even in a TV sitcom, we all have that one person whose image jumps up in our mind the moment someone says “good teacher”.
And if we are to put down a list of all the traits that these teachers have had and that we admired the most in them we would find a lot of common ground. To name a few it’s that teacher that has earned your respect in every way possible, that teacher that can dive into your world you’d almost think he faces the same things you are on a regular basis, that teacher that knows when to be cool and down with it like he’s one of your peeps but at the same time can give you “the look” that instantaneously sends shivers down your spine because you know he means business, that teacher that has inspired you to love what he taught, the very thing that you might have hated before he came along, that teacher that you just couldn’t get enough of and wished that all your classes were taught by him, that teacher that was your confident and more like your life coach than just a teacher, that teacher who believed in you and saw in you untapped potential when no one else did, that teacher who refused to let you stay the way you were but clung to you so steadfastly until you started seeing yourself from his eyes and got to the place he saw you could reach before you even had any idea you ever could, that teacher whose class didn’t feel like class but more like life, and finally that teacher who managed to reproduce himself in you.
Does that look like someone you know?
I grew up watching Boy Meets World day in day out and I can say I pretty much grew up with Cory. Cory, although a fictional character, had the privilege of having a teacher that embodies all the aforementioned description of a good teacher. Which is why I’m using him as an example to put a face to the name.
I was looking on YouTube for a video of Mr Feeny for those of you who don’t know him and I found an edited clip showing three different parts, each from a certain period in Cory’s life.
I’ve had throughout my life a few teachers that have put their permanent stamp on me but while I was describing the perfect teacher above I couldn’t help but feel the Holy Spirit’s touch as he was affirming God as the ultimate “good teacher” with every word I was writing. I felt God reminding me of all the instances in my life where he showed himself to me as a teacher and a darn good one that is.
I’m reminded of the passage in Luke 18 where a ruler comes to Jesus calling him a good teacher and asks him what he must do to inherit eternal life. To this question Jesus begins by answering: “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Luke 18:19 ESV). In this marvelous sentence, Jesus not only does he affirm God as the only “good teacher” but he also declares himself to be God in this rhetorical question.
Truth is, God is the “good teacher”, he’s the best teacher for that matter, and all gifts of teaching one possesses emanate from him. He’s the source of every good and perfect gift. (James 1:17). Which is why we must as teachers always look to him as our role model, the good teacher who will reproduce himself in us and constantly realign our hearts with his. It’s true what they say: “A good teacher never stops learning”, which is why we must never stop learning. Never.
Happy teacher’s day!