And he gave some…TEACHERS: for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ -Ephesians 4:11-12

When I was in college, one of my instructors defined teaching as, “making students better.”  When I teach my college education classes, I often say, “It’s not our job as teachers to pat our students on their heads and tell them they are good enough; it is our job to make them better.”  The message of this statement is two-fold:

  1. All of the students in our classes need to be challenged, but especially the strong ones.  Oftentimes, our strong students tend to get overlooked, and we focus our time and energy on our weak students.  This isn’t fair to those strong students.  They need to be challenged, they need to be made uncomfortable, and they need to be strengthened.  This is what will make them better.
  2. All of the students in our classes need grace, but especially the weak ones.  Perhaps the weak ones haven’t made the numeric passing grade needed for your class, but perhaps now they know more about the subject(s) than they did when they entered your classroom.  If this is the case, then you have succeeded in making them better.  Perhaps they don’t know more about the subject(s), but perhaps their character has improved.  If this is the case, then you have succeeded in making them better.  Don’t get frustrated with them; rejoice with them in the success; you have made them better!

May I use these two points to encourage and challenge teachers and parents?

In these days, when teachers have been required to teach their classes from a distance and learn new technologies and teaching methods, frustration may peak its head into the classroom.  May I say to those teachers simply, “Make your students better”?  Seize the opportunity to challenge your students in new ways, but don’t forget to have patience and give grace.  These new and semi-new ways of learning that have been pushed out to unprecedented numbers may actually be what some of our students need to succeed in life.

In these days, when parents have been required to wear the “hat” of part-time, or even full-time, educator, frustration may peak its head into the home.  No doubt with all of the academic and technological requirements thrust upon parents, life can seem overwhelming.  May I say to those parents simply, “Make your children better”? Your children don’t have to emerge from this time in our nation’s history with the ability to score 1600 on their SATs, but they should emerge better.  

Teaching is clearly a spiritual gift, and I put the Bible verses at the top of this article on all of my Education syllabuses for my classes at Golden State Baptist College.  However, if you are a parent, you are also a teacher, by default.  It is my prayer that when social distancing is a thing of the past and classroom learning becomes the norm again, students will have come through…….better.

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Jeana Sousley, GSBC Professor

Mrs. Jeana Sousley and her husband moved their family to North Valley almost 20 years ago to attend Golden State Baptist College. She has been a part of training the next generation at GSBC for 12 years, where she oversees the Education department. She and her husband have joyfully raised three daughters and are currently reaping the blessings of grandparenthood.