3 things that excellent teachers know and practice

Teachers That Excel

It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the teacher's work with the young. Yet very often this great service is neglected. Children have keen active minds and there are very seldom wrong doctrines to combat. A teacher must study three things carefully: his subject, his students, and his strategy.

His Subject

Someone once said boastingly to Spurgeon, "I never know what I'm going to say ten minutes before I speak." Spurgeon replied, "That is why no one knows what you've said ten minutes after you speak!" The scripture speaks plainly, "Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord negligently." The words of Solomon describe the ideal teacher: "Moreover because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed and sought out and set in order many proverbs. The preacher sought to find out acceptable words." Eccl. 12:9-10. Here we see the great necessity for the teacher to seek out and recognize plainly the main theme of the lesson, which should then be written down.

He should read his portion until totally familiar with it, acquainting himself with parallel passages and everything he possibly can about his subject. He should arrange his lesson so that every part of it emphasizes the central truth. START with a striking incident or question or fact to gain attention. A brief review of last week's lesson to gain and sustain interest. SPEAK plainly and follow your outline, yet leaving room for the Spirit's guidance. SEEK to illuminate with illustration. STOP just before time, give a clear conclusion or summary of the main point(s), leaving time for review, or student's questions. Lesson related homework assignments should be given that are not too difficult. Expect them to do it and don't, by any means, fail to recognize or acknowledge a completed assignment.

His Students

The teacher who excels will not only pray for guidance and blessing from God, but he will continually pray for his pupils and their families. He will make every effort to visit their homes and understand the student's needs, background, habits and capacity. These things greatly affect the student's progress and ability to take in truth. Use as many means as possible to contact the family and pursue this objective.

His Stragegy

In this, the most important ingredient is utter sincerity. To this should be added a sprinkling of variety. Over all, there should be order, simplicity, and clarity. For this purpose it is wise to categorize and collect verses, lessons, illustrations, stories and pictures to emphasize definite truths. Don't forget homework. For younger ones, this might be objects (related to lesson) to color; for older ones, questions or readings with a short study or a report to the class. These crutches and keys for memory will be of invaluable help.