The Joy of Teaching

I know a friend I’ve commented on before will certainly enjoy this blog. I was thinking of writing on something different for awhile, but then events happened today that made me decide to change my mind. I was at my workplace today on my lunch break reading a book waiting to see if someone else would come by when a friend of mine came in and introduced me to his Dad.

Now I’m pleased to meet his Dad and the first thing I do is give my sympathies. (Hey! I work with this guy! I can’t imagine someone having to have lived with him any longer!) Then my friend tells me that he was trying to explain to his Dad the Law of Noncontradiction.

Anyone who is a teacher out there can imagine the smile I got on my face.

Readers. I have preached, but even when I preach, I am more of a teacher than anything else. If you hear a sermon from me, it will sound more like a seminar session than anything else. My preaching is teaching. I enjoy nothing more really than sitting down and talking with someone about issues of faith and explaining them. In fact, one of my favorite visits from the Mormons was when they asked us questions about the Trinity. My roommate knew at this point, “Stay out of the way.” Once I start on that topic, I’m good to go. 

What made this conversation such a thrill was that since he told me he was trying to explain it to his Dad, I learned something else. That obviously meant that he was talking about this kind of thing outside of our conversations. It was so interesting to him that he found it essential to pass it on to those nearest to him.

It’s so wonderful to see new minds getting interested in these topics and passing them on. One thing I love as a teacher especially is what I call the “Eureka” moment. That’s the time when you can look into a student’s eyes and realize all of a sudden that they get it! The light has shed! It is hard to say who is more excited by that. Is it the teacher or the student?

Things get even better for me though. Not only does this friend tell me that he was trying to explain it to his Dad, but later on he sees me again and asks a question about the topic. Now, not only do I know that he is explaining the stuff and getting into it away from me, he is also wondering about it and already learning to ask questions.

A good teacher loves questions.

I then ask more about the reading. I ask him if his brother is reading that book. “No. He’s reading Case for Christ.” I’m just as pleased! I talk to his brother later and we have a good talk. It starts with Bruce Metzger as that’s the chapter he’s on now so I’m able to point him to other works Metzger has written and we discuss some of the other scholars in that book and I explain that Strobel gives you a good and basic grasp.

Why? When he asked about Metzger’s other works I mentioned “The Bible in Translation” to which he said “Does he just say what he said in Strobel?” I had to explain that he said much more. Strobel is meant to help you get your feet wet really. The good thing Strobel does, and he’s a blessing to the evangelical world for this, is that he shows you were to go for more by interviewing the leading minds in the field.

It is so pleasing though to see other minds getting into this field. Teaching brings that joy. It is passing on the knowledge. Gaining knowledge is excellent, but when you see other people coming to learn that knowledge and pass it on themselves, it makes it all worthwhile. It’s those moments that you most learn why you do what you do.

And it’s something I wouldn’t trade for anything. Teaching. It’s a great joy, and we should thank those who do it and do it well.

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