For the first time in 28 years, I am not teaching in children’s ministries at our church. It feels very weird to not be teaching, but at the same time, this teaching sabbatical has been very good for me. After all these years, I am discovering just how inexperienced I am. Let me explain.
This year, CDG is doing a series of regional conferences called Impact: The Next Generation. One of the privileges I have had during these conferences is meeting with teachers. In hearing their stories and experiences, I have to confess: I’ve had it easy these past 28 years! You see, for the most part, I have had the following experience:
- Wonderful leadership that has trained, supported, and encouraged me.
- Facilities that were designed with the needs of children in mind.
- A fully supplied classroom and with all the additional teaching resources available.
- A fully staffed classroom—a team of faithful coworkers who shared classroom responsibilities making the load joyfully manageable.
- A single age-group of children to teach in my class, consisting mainly of children from Christian families.
The above just isn’t the case for many teachers. Some teachers struggle with inadequate facilities and understaffed classrooms. Some must figure out how to meet the diverse learning needs when teaching a group that includes 5-year-olds to 12-year-olds. Some must deal with students who don’t have English as their first language. Some must try to compensate for the lack of any Christian witness in the home. And the list could go on and on!
But what I find so encouraging is how teachers—and maybe you are one of them—have come up with creative solutions to “make it work” in spite of these kinds of difficulties. You love the Lord, love His Word, and love the children in your care. You persevere in proclaiming to the next generation “the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done…so that they should set their hope in God…” (Psalm 78:4, 7 ESV)
So this coming year, I hope to humbly learn from these teachers. I hope to gain valuable insights from their experiences so that I might become a better teacher. Through the process I hope to also become a more thoughtful curriculum writer.
This teacher still has a lot to learn! Thank you to all those teachers who are now teaching me.