After 50 years of either being taught by or working with Adventist teachers, I’ve identified six things the truly outstanding teachers all have in common.
1. They build relationships with their students one child at a time. Students of great teachers believe their teacher is fond of them, values their ideas and admires their potential.
2. Outstanding teachers are experts. They are skilled in pedagogy, adept in classroom management and masters of the subjects they teach. Such teachers are rarely fully satisfied with their performance. They are constantly reflecting on how things went in class, looking for ways to improve.
3. Great teachers will do just about anything to get their students to learn. They lie awake at night dreaming up ways to entice each child to love learning. They do not try to cram children who are square pegs into the round holes of their curriculum. They adapt to meet each child’s needs.
4. Our finest teachers believe they have a moral obligation to convince each child to do the best work he or she is able to do. Years later, students tell stories about how hard they worked for these teachers and are grateful.
5. Outstanding Adventist teachers are active in the life of their local church. They believe they have an obligation to set for their students an example of Sabbath worship and service. Because of this, these teachers have greater credibility with their students when talking about the kingdom of God.
6. Our best teachers look for ways to make reading and memorizing Scripture an essential part of the curriculum. They are intentional in uncovering spiritual truths in every subject. Effective integration of faith and learning is a key component of every school day.
Outstanding teachers are a gift from God! Parents should support them, students should honor them, school boards should reward them, and church members should uphold them with daily prayer and frequent words of appreciation.