What Makes an Excellent Teacher?
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What Makes an Excellent Teacher?

All good teachers know long-term learning is environmental. A teacher who fails to learn about their student’s homes, ethic backgrounds, religions, languages and cultures is nothing more than a dispenser of information or a giver of assignments and exams. Real teaching interacts with students in the historical context of their roots. One of the great failures of American missionaries was eager evangelists rushing into countries dispensing what they thought was Christianity when it was American culture. They did not take the time to realize they had much to learn from the local people. Real learning about the Good News can only be meaningful as it relates to local customs and beliefs. Too often we treat other people’s culture as being inferior and something to be discarded.

If we used Jesus as our model we would do differently. Jesus did not just drop onto planet Earth proclaiming the things we needed to change. Instead He came as one of us. He was born here. He grew up here. He ate our food. He spoke our culture. He taught us using common things like yeast and coins. He talked about wedding banquets and sons who wanted to go off and prove themselves. He knew about bosses, workers and wages.

It was obvious the people loved Jesus because of the miracles but there was so much more. They loved Him because He was a great teacher. He knew about the things that touched their everyday lives. Luke 4:15 says, “He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.”

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:14

Written by Roger Bothwell on August 22, 2003
151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453