How To Be A Good Teacher
I have encountered many teachers, each with unique teaching styles and methods. I have also had the opportunity to take the role of teacher or mentor in many situations, whether that was tutoring, working in Sunday school, vacation Bible school, or neighborhood Bible clubs. One thing I’ve realized through these opportunities is that whenever I am passing information onto someone else, I can do it in a way that either makes them feel “more smart” or “more foolish”. There are times to correct people, which may result in hurt feelings; but overall, I believe that it is important to pass on information in a way that makes a person feel edified and encouraged.
One example I can think of is from when I was younger, probably around 6th grade. My neighbor, also around that age, knew that I went to a Christian school. During the summer, she started asking me questions about the Bible. I remember swinging at a playground with her and turning my nose down as I rattled off facts about the Bible. “God created everything. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus died to save us from our sins.”
All true things. But not presented lovingly as the life-changing realities of God’s Word.
I was given an opportunity to witness and to show Christ’s love to someone who did not understand it. But I used the opportunity to show off—caring more about how I was somehow “better” than my neighbor than caring about her eternal salvation.
She heard the facts, perhaps for the first time, but rather than feeling enlightened, she was embarrassed that she didn’t already know those things. She never asked me about God or the Bible again, and her family moved away a couple of years later. I still regret that missed opportunity to show God’s love.
I have been blessed to have many teachers, both in spiritual and secular subjects, who have presented me with information enthusiastically, spreading their love for the subject to their students. The passion of those teachers caused a spark in me, making me excited to learn, and excited to pass that information on to others.
Not all of us will be full-time teachers, but we will have many opportunities to share knowledge with others. The key to getting that knowledge to stick is showing how important that knowledge is to you and how important it should be to them.
Here are some verses which give principles of teaching Scripture:
2 Timothy 2:24-25 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
This verse informs us that we must teach gently and kindly. I once heard a teacher say that we should not offend the person we are trying to teach about Scripture, as the Bible offends enough on its own. As humans, we don’t want to hear that we are doing wrong. But we see clearly in Scripture that, due to our sinful nature, we go against God’s will. The Bible and the Holy Spirit can convict people of sins; we should not take it into our own hands to condemn them, but we should kindly show them the love of God.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Like all things, teaching should be done for the glory of God. When I chastised my neighbor, I was not doing it for God’s glory; I was doing it for my own. But when we look to God and seek to please Him, He will bless us.
Titus 2:7-8 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
Hypocrites will be condemned. When we talk about the love of God, we need to show it. If we claim God’s love but live in hatred and sin, people will not be interested in learning about love from us.
People want to know that others are listening. People yearn to be loved. We have the opportunity to lovingly lead them to the only One who can love them unconditionally. When we have an opportunity to teach others, we should pray for the words to say and the right attitude to say them.
Lauren Jacques is a writer and editor from Columbus, Ohio, and a graduate of Pensacola Christian College. You can find out more about her work at LaurenJacquesEditing.com!
Please share your own teaching tips in the comments below.