August 9, 2011

Living, Learning, Teaching

Be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern
what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
(Romans 12:2)

I bought this book years ago, but never got to read it. At first, I was too busy with my actual teaching duties. Then I left teaching completely, to focus on my dissertation. (As a prof of mine used to say, "How's your Physics problem?" Answer: "It's still a problem.")

I bought this book, heartily recommended it to Ron (who eventually became a teacher too), got it back from her, literally shelved it for years... And now, just as I'm returning to the teacher way of life, this book reappears. (This time, I'm ready, willing and able to actually read it.)

Then and now, I'm remembering my love for my students. Back then, I loved them enough to help them rather than myself, i.e., to teach rather than do my research. And when I could not teach wholeheartedly, I chose not to teach at all.

(Some would say, I have poor work ethic and time management skills. That's right, I'm still learning. But given those weaknesses, I am still standing by the career decisions I made years ago. Hopefully my more responsible colleagues would also use their heart every now and then. ;) )

So now I'm teaching part-time. I love the diversity of the subject matter, and the flexibility of the schedule. And, it's easier for me to interact with the students holistically --- asking "How are you?" and really caring about the answer, rather than just checking on one's grammar or punctuation.

So it's funny that unlike "other" matters, my calling to teach came about in a roundabout way. It is God's will for each of us to be good in some things, and have the desire to master those things and impart what we know. Simply put, that is teaching --- whether you are being paid by a university or hired by your friend's mom's neighbor or asked by your little brother.

Back then, I did not want to do anything that was not explicitly God's will for me. Now... I'm learning that teaching is. :) 

"Teaching to Change Lives: Seven Proven Ways to Make Your Teaching Come Alive," by Dr. Howard Hendricks. Simply written yet highly effective. You can order the book here.

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