By Rodney L. Pry, P.S.S.S.A. Executive Director
Recently, a man told me that he was not coming to one of our Sunday School Association sponsored workshops because, as he put it, “I’ve been teaching the way I teach for too long to learn anything new now.”
Such attitudes in the church are very unfortunate, but far more prevalent than most of us realize. People, even Christian workers, can get into a “rut” and can get lazy if they are not careful. They start looking for the easiest and most comfortable way to teach, usually the way they have been teaching for years. But, is “the same old thing” really an effective way of teaching, or does it become boring and dull and lack the teaching impact that it should have?
New methods of teaching and new ideas can be frightening. New ways of teaching will probably not be as easy to prepare and use and that could mean extra work for the teacher. New teaching methods might mean that the teacher no longer has the power and control they once had in their class. For example, many teachers do not like discussion and questions. They are afraid they won’t know the answers and they don’t like being “side-tracked,” even to add insight or an explanation to the lesson.
Being a “teachable teacher” is an attitude that goes much deeper than a person’s attitudes toward teaching. It will also be seen in their attitudes toward their Lord and their openness to his leading, direction and correction. A “teachable person” is one who is willing to listen to God and His direction for their lives. He or she is willing to change their actions and attitudes as they learn more about God, His Word and His Will for their lives.
The “teachable teacher” is willing to join with the Psalmist in praying, “Teach me your ways, O Lord; make them known to me. Teach me to live according to your truth…” (Psalm 25: 4 & 5a)
An attitude that is open to the Lord’s guidance and instruction is an important attribute for any Sunday school teacher. None of us is perfect. None of us knows everything there is to know about the Bible. None of us has all the answers to all the questions that will be asked. And, none of us, no matter how effective we are in our teaching, is as good a teacher as we could be. But, if we are willing to be a “teachable teacher,” we all can grow spiritually and become more effective in our work for our Lord.
The teacher who realizes that they don’t know everything and could become an even better and more effective teacher is the one who reads and studies his or her Bible daily. They read Christian books and magazines. They attend teacher training workshops and seminars. They are willing to devote the time and effort necessary to make their lessons effective and enjoyable for their class members.
I truly hope and pray that YOU are a “teachable teacher” and are continuing to do everything that you can to follow the Lord’s direction and to do His will. When you think of all that He did for you, can you do anything less for Him?