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The Adventist Teacher: A Minister In The Classroom

This article is written by Marcia Smith, English Teacher; Bahamas Academy of Seventh-day Adventists

Can you imagine a world without teachers, a world where learning has ceased and expanding knowledge is no longer available? What would the world be like if teachers ceased to exist? There would be no one to direct students to make the veracious decisions to be efficacious in today’s society. H.L Mencken says, ‘‘The best teacher is not the one who knows most, but the one who is most capable of reducing knowledge to that simple compound of the obvious and wonderful.’’ Anyone can be a teacher, but the teacher who cares and takes time to diligently break down all that they know to give a clear window of understanding to the pupil is worth celebrating and honoring. At Bahamas Academy, our teachers are rare and possess exceptional qualities. They are God’s ambassadors in the classroom.

Teachers are said to be the backbone of society. They are the ones who steer the educational ship to academic success and influence social change. A teacher is more than grading papers and having an occasional, “happy teachers’ day salute.” They are the ones behind the various career choices.

“Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalks and challenges”, says Joyce Myers. It is indeed true that educators hold the pleasure of changing lives each day they step in the classroom. Teachers are God’s gift to the classroom and learning. The Adventist educator realizes that in each child, there is a soul for whom Christ died. The teacher has the awesome responsibility to help to mold the character of each student, to one that is pleasing to God. The educator also realizes that his/her calling is a service to God and that the fruits of his/her labor may not be seen until they get to heaven.

The Adventist educator recognizes the need to constantly sit at the feet of the Master teacher, and there he/she will find inspiration, strength and wisdom to follow His example. The Adventist teacher also believes, “True education means more than the perusal of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible

to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come” (Education pg. 13).

The Adventist educator realizes that his/her responsibility is to impart true wisdom to the pupil, which can only come through knowledge of God. The Adventist teacher points the child to Christ, whether in the Science Lab, Physical Education, Mathematics or even an English class; the objective is for the student to seek Christ and not mere academics.

The ability to put in time and get to know each student’s work is imperative to the role of being a teacher. Instructors should always form relationships with their students to make them feel comfortable and unproblematic. In establishing relationships with students, the teacher knows how to be effective and knows which technique will help that young, brilliant individual to understand the topic. This ability will help the child to be predisposed to putting more effort into his/her finished product because he/she senses the teacher’s understanding and care.

The teacher should approach every topic adequately not moving on until he/she has evidence of the pupil’s full understanding. The student should be given a clear insight of the field they are studying, its past, present and discussions on how new literacies impact learning. That is one of the ways to truly shed light on the course. This characteristic is necessary for the role of becoming a teacher after God’s own heart.

Teachers should help to build confidence and surety in the student. Without confidence in the subject area, the child feels inadequate or unable to excel. This creates a problem for both the teacher and the student.

The instructor should intercede when the child seems to falter and reassure him/her that the effort and application of studies is the best way to go.

When the work gets done, and after the children have tried their best, it is meritorious. Showing praise and appreciation for them who have put their best foot forward helps them to build their confidence and self-worth. The remarkable thing about confidence builder is that it is translated and integrated into other areas of the child’s life. The child is more likely to pursue other areas that he/she might not have had interest earlier. The child then experiences an overall improvement that places him/her on a higher level of actualization. Henry Adams states that ‘’A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.’’ This shows how something as ‘’small’’ as a confidence builder can permeate throughout the pupil’s life.

Teaching is not an easy task; it takes commitment, tenacity and guidance from the Holy Spirit to stand and lead the future generation. Seventh-day Adventist teachers represent a fraction of the hardworking teachers we have on this beautiful island. They do their job effectively. The Seventh-day Adventist teacher is committed and loyal in helping to develop Christ-centered quality education. While others focus on completing the syllabus and curricula, the Adventist teacher is committed to restoring in each child the image of God. As we celebrate Adventist Teacher’s Day, we salute all teachers in our congregations. Today is a great time to say, “Thank you, for giving to the Lord!

Marcia Smith, English Teacher; Bahamas Academy of Seventh-day Adventists