By Christine Danielewicz
August 5, 2011
To discover the most important qualities of teacher, a person must look to the greatest teacher who ever lived: Jesus Christ. Christ displayed the qualities of wisdom, humility, love, and sacrificial commitment. Without these key character traits, no educator can hope to succeed.
It takes great wisdom to handle the serious, complex issues that teachers face daily. According to Proverbs 9:10 in the Bible, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (ESV). Jesus, the Holy One, responded wisely to every problem he encountered.
Along with wisdom goes humility. It is hard to tell which comes first. It takes wisdom to learn humility, and it takes humility to develop wisdom. In Philippians 2:8 we see that Jesus “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (ESV). When conducted in humble obedience, our teaching can accomplish all that the Lord desires.
In dealing with children and their parents, outstanding educators show genuine love to those they serve. Jesus and his followers did not show partiality (Acts 10:34, James 2:1-12); neither can teachers. Great educators make every child feel as if he or she is a valued student—even those who do not like them or their subject matter. Just as Jesus lovingly prayed for his persecutors from the cross in Luke 23:24, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (ESV), outstanding educators show genuine concern for those who may be apathetic, insolent, or defiant, so students know that, even when they are experiencing firm discipline, their teachers want the best for them.
Excellent teachers have a “whatever it takes” attitude to ensure that children learn. Jesus withheld nothing, but sacrificed his very life on the cross so that perishing people could live. Likewise, exceptional teachers are willing to sacrifice so that children can learn. Having been entrusted with treasures of knowledge and understanding, outstanding teachers enter the classroom knowing that “…to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48, ESV).
Wisdom, humility, love, and sacrificial commitment lay the foundation on which solid instruction is built. Teachers who develop these qualities are prepared to meet tough educational and behavioral challenges. Their instruction produces outstanding results.
Lord, please grow these qualities in us!