In Part 1, I shared that over the years, I have seen many lists of teacher characteristics and even written about them on several occasions. Recently I came across another list in an article entitled Can You Describe a Good Teacher? by Billie Davis. In Part 1 of this three-part series, I shared Davis’ first three characteristics. In Part 2, I will share the middle four characteristics and brief statement in all capitals followed by my commentary applying them to a good Sunday School teacher:
APPRECIATION. VALUES STUDENTS AS INDIVIDUALS, THEIR SEPARATE STRENGTHS AND CONTRIBUTIONS.Affirmation added together with intentional trust and skill development can lead to individual strategic times of appreciation and recognition for progress, risk-taking, and task completion. Teachers have great power to affirm the potential and gifts they see in attenders. Individual, private, and even corporate affirmation and appreciation can change lives and launch leaders.
LISTENING. ACCEPTING IDEAS, THOUGHTS, AND SUGGESTIONS. Listening is one of the highest gifts we can give to another person. This takes place in every encounter, from during class sessions to home visits, from community interactions to grief support. Listening well leads attenders to feel appreciated and cared for and in turn leads to deeper levels of trust. I have written about listening in many blog entries: Revolutionary Sunday School Teachers Listen to God, Members, and Prospects, Increase Care in Sunday School by Becoming Better Listeners, Part 1, Increase Care in Sunday School by Becoming Better Listeners, Part 2, Improve Your Small Group by Listening Better, Part 1, Improve Your Small Group by Listening Better, Part 2, The Best Sunday School Teachers and Leaders Are Great Listeners!, Sunday School Teaching Believers to Listen to the Voice of God, Part 1, Sunday School Teaching Believers to Listen to the Voice of God, Part 2, and Sunday School Ministry in Times of Grief.
ENTHUSIASM. ENERGY, INTEREST, DELIGHT IN THE EXPERIENCES OF TEACHING. Good teachers become passionate about teaching and serving as a teacher. They delight in caring for God’s sheep. They enjoy study and preparation. They love learning more by preparing and teaching. They desire to learn more from God’s Word and from other sources about how to be better teachers and shepherds. Many find personal fulfillment and satisfaction in the task. Others realize the benefits and are willing to invest in this important ministry. Still others have delight in God Himself, and it shows through in teaching a lesson and loving on people for Him!
PERSONAL INVESTMENT. RECEIVING SATISFACTION FROM THE GROWTH OF OTHERS. WILLING TO TAKE RISKS. NOT IMPOSING AUTHORITY FOR THE SAKE OF EGO OR “FACE-SAVING.” One of the great privileges that teachers have is to see the growth of people touched by Sunday School. Some take steps toward Christ who were far away. Others accept Him as their Savior and Lord. Yet others begin to follow Him closely and to grow to know Him better. Some hear Him call and are willing to serve Him in any capacity, and so they step up to leadership in the church or Sunday School. Many teachers are willing to invest the time and energy to serve as great teachers because of lives that are touched and changed through Sunday School.
As a teacher, which of these four characteristics is your strongest? Celebrate it! Which characteristic needs a bit more work? Ask God to help you address it. What can you do to strengthen it this week? Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 3 of this series for seven more characteristics. Be empathetic. Work out of your sense of mission. Communicate well. Be revolutionary!