Well, I finally took up the mantel two years ago, and stepped into the classroom as the homeroom teacher in a small Christian school. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what teaching was. I had spent years actually watching and studying the things that teachers did, how they did it, what they didn’t do. I thought that I was ready.
Fortunately, I was wrong. Fortunately, I was wrong here, at this school, or I might have spent many years striking out without realizing it. I might have just kept on offering information and testing instead of trying to educate. I still feel the occasional pangs of guilt for having to learn such lessons at the expense of my class, but I suppose that teachers have to learn on someone.
You see, here at the Garden School, the concept of education we ascribe to is a more holistic approach. Sure, a student needs to know basic information… geography, math, spelling, etc… but we also value integrity, goodness, truth, faith, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines. We recognize that raising up leaders takes mentoring… not just information. We want to be a part of sculpting beautiful souls, and not just beautiful minds.
As teachers, we seek to impart a piece of our lives to our students… give of ourselves… something that might echo across generations. Class time might consist of a lecture, or a poignant story, or open discussion or a sermon-et… but it is always a lesson that holds some value… something that I hope will leave an impression on a young leader’s heart.
For me, this is inspired teaching. I am not sure that “teaching” is even the appropriate word for this… but it is the word we’ve got. In fact, maybe the word doesn’t matter and neither does a carefully parsed definition. This is a lifestyle; a heavy burden and a deep privilege. And it feels so, so good… to teach like this.