I guess I'd call myself a teacher.
However, I've never been employed as one. I have no formal education in teaching. You could say one of my spiritual gifts is teaching (at least that's how I score on this test). But discerning what to teach and when and to whom is a regular challenge.
I do find myself constantly teaching my kids. Though I've never homeschooled, and don't plan to as of now, nearly every day, I'm actively teaching them something. The other day, we had a whole conversation about legal liability and why our HOA wants us to take down the tree swing. Today I walked them through the whole process of how to get a driver's license. Maybe a little deep for two elementary school aged kids, but I try not to underestimate their ability to understand real world situations if explained on their level. You could say I'm in the constant process of informally educating them on emotions, relationships, the way the world works, who God is, why they are on this earth, and a million other things. That alone qualifies me as a teacher, right?
But at times, though I know I'm capable of certain kinds of teaching, I have a sense that I should not.
For instance, it gets really tricky when I try to teach something to my husband. It may be okay if it's about one of the kids, but sometimes it's not. It may be okay if it's a spiritual matter, but usually not. Often he feels disrespected if I'm communicating something in a teachery way.
Another situation in which I'm struggling to find my place is volunteering in the classroom. If you are a teacher, I'd love your input here. Once she figured out I was capable of it, one of the kids' teachers decided my job would be to take the lowest group of about 7 students into an adjacent classroom to reteach math concepts to them. Basically, tutor them, come up with sample problems, use the white board, etc. In other words, she wants me to be a second teacher because they are way behind. I feel bad for the kids. I worked with them last week. They clearly have no other help, and most don't come from homes where the adults speak English. How exactly the kids can understand the slight difference between the "hundreds place" and the "hundredths place" is beyond me. I'm capable of giving them some extra help. But I'm not sure it's my job. It's not at all why I'm volunteering. If I agree to the teacher's plans, I'll never be with my own child. Again, I have no training in teaching math, nor do I want to be a tutor. I'm volunteering 90 minutes a week to be involved in my child's life, not be the teacher's assistant. And I'm not sure how to communicate that gently.
Then there's church. I was recently asked to be a part of a rotating teaching team for the 4th/5th grade youth group. This is something I've agreed to, and have my first teaching date in two weeks! But when I stand back, I'm realizing that I've never spoken to 50 or 75 "tweens" before. What if they chatter, or giggle, or are completely bored by what I'm saying? I don't know how to be cool and funny. I don't know how to respond to rude behavior, especially in church. Though I haven't been given my topic yet, I know in my brain that I'm capable of standing before them and having something to say, I just feel out of my element as a teacher. I feel stretched.
Which isn't a bad thing. I'm just hashing out my thoughts with you guys on the subject today. I know a few of you are teachers, and I thought maybe you'd have some tips or input for me. Of course prayer will be a part of my prep for both the conversation with the teacher and the teaching at church.
But it's tricky, this teaching thing.
Maybe that's why I decided to write a blog post.
I'm comfy here. And you guys are so encouraging and helpful. I'm really thankful for your words, whenever you have some to offer.
So no profound wrap-up this time; I'm just processing. If you think of it, please pray with/for me for wisdom and discernment in teaching...what and when and to whom. Thanks friends.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens...a time to be silent, and a time to speak....
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7