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Lessons Learned from teaching… again

June 23, 2016

For the first seven weeks of 2016, I had the privilege of teaching Marriage & Family Life (SS 224) at Prairie College. As readers of this blog will know, I have taught various college courses in different disciplines since 1996. Yet I learned a number of “new” things teaching this course:

Teachers will be judged (by God) more seriously (see James 3:1).
Obviously I have felt this more acutely when teaching Biblical studies courses than perhaps some others, yet as I began this course, I would say I felt the “weight” of this verse anew. I am sure it was partially because of the subject matter and the fact that marriage is such a monumental life decision affecting the course of a person’s life for years, even affecting generations to come. Yet realizing afresh that in my professor role, young adults “trusted” my perspective on a question because I was the “expert,” gave pause for consideration.

Whecollege students in classroom.jpgn something meaningful is happening, the devil will not be pleased!
The weekend before the course began, Sarah and I had more arguments about irrelevant matters than we have had in a whole year. I clued into the reason about 9:00 pm Sunday night with a mix of embarrassment (how could I be so inattentive?), relief (phew, really wasn’t suddenly a big jerk!), and thankfulness (I guess this means the Lord wants to do something good and meaningful). A good reminder that any work of value will face opposition.

Teaching about a topic makes you constantly more attentive to it!
As I shared with the students about various aspects of married life – understanding your spouse, selfishness, love languages, communication, conflict, in-laws, disciplining children, etc – I was constantly reminded of my short-comings in these areas and the importance of being attentive to these topics. Teaching on the topics four days a week (and preparing for the class on the other days) you were always thinking about examples, illustrations, or applications in your own marriage to explain an principle/concept. It was truly magnificent to be thinking about these things everyday… perhaps I should be even when I am not teaching a course on the topic!

I’ve already warned Sarah: Since the course is over, I may not be as great a husband as I have been for those seven weeks! (FYI: She graciously smiled and laughed!)

Teaching should lead you to increased humility.
While it may have been the nature of this course, teaching a topic makes me realize how gently I need to hold my strong convictions and opinions on a topic and not become belligerent. Likewise, it reminds me there are more gray areas – or at least more areas where divergent perspectives exist – and while my view on an issue may be right, I need to be humble enough to listen and truly hear another side of the story.

Needless to say, I can hardly wait to teach again in the college environment, and learn more about myself, teaching, and of course, the topic.


From → Leadership

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