We have this idea that our teachers should know everything and then dispense that everything to us in bite-size bits, easily digested.
When I say ‘teachers’, I include people like pastors, politicians, authors, or mentors – anyone you might listen to with the hope of learning from, which actually ought to be everyone.
We learn at home and I also tutor a class of 12-15 year olds once a week, and I’ve lost track of the number of shocked responses I’ve gotten over the years from kids (mostly my own) who were appalled to hear that I was giving them questions that I, myself, didn’t know the answer to.
We expect the teachers to be experts, but should they be expert teachers, or experts in a particular field of study?
And does being an expert in a particular field necessarily make you the best teacher of that subject?
I suppose you can be both – an expert and a teacher. But maybe a teacher ought to be more of an instigator, someone who pushes you to find the experts or become one yourself.
I’m no expert on teaching or education. I’m just a mom who wants to keep learning.
My goal as a mom and a teacher is always to convince them to get knowledge for themselves, to gather it like honey – hard fought and rewarding. I’m a facilitator and the best education is the one you search out for yourself, I tell them. Give them tools and set them to digging.
It’s hard work, searching for answers. We all want to know stuff but sometimes the effort to know weighs heavy and we would rather google it or ask an expert, which are not the same thing. At all. Anyone can be an expert online, but fewer are experts off the web, in real life.
Sometimes I’m a lazy consumer-of-information, myself, and I don’t think googling answers is always wrong. I have to choose what topics to spend my time on and sometimes I just need to know what year Oregon gained statehood, to see if my husband was correct. (1859. He was.)
Jesus had a way of thinning out the lazy, quick-answer people. He spoke in parables that required you to think deeper, stick around longer, listen better for the unfolding of the lesson. He used everyday things the people were familiar with but He paired them with spiritual lessons that they were unaccustomed to.
Now sheep and seeds and vines and bread had spiritual meaning. This ordinary stuff had real significance in Jesus’ words. He took their occupations, their duties, their common and familiar things, and served them back with eternal lessons.
Because we need real life to relate to our real soul.
And they got it, but only the ones who stuck around, only the people who wanted to learn and not just be taught, the ones who were willing to stretch beyond what was easy and familiar.
I wonder if I would have stuck around.
We still need parables to stretch us. We need a reason beyond mere fact-finding to listen to the news or the pastor or the professor.
We need to stick around long enough and dig one thing deep enough to mine real answers for our real life – the one we’ll have forever.
The reason? And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ who You have sent. (John 17:3) The reason is that our eternal life has already begun and God is waiting to be known by us. That is the end of our education, all of us spending our eternity knowing God for ourselves and not just the interpretations of God we get the easy way.
We can have great teachers and experienced experts but if we are not students ourselves, we are the most uneducated of all people – starving at a feast because no one will bring us a plate.