Teachers – Good and Bad (Eighth Ordinary)

Jesus continued, “You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives.

It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words

and deeds”. (Luke 6: 43 – 45)

I was an inconsistent student over the years of my formal education. I excelled in some areas and struggled in others. I have come to realise that the teacher often made the difference. My introduction to number beyond the basics was high school Algebra I. The teacher was brilliant but had no patience in explaining the steps necessary to learn the concepts because it came easy to him. It remained inaccessible to me because of that. There was no fun or sense of accomplishment. I felt he didn’t want to be there as much as I didn’t. I dreaded every math course after that.

On the other hand, my teacher in English II loved to read and write. He found books students our age enjoyed reading and encouraged spirited discussions. He had us writing every day, printed our work, had us read it aloud to the class, and patiently helped us improve our technique. We were having as much fun as he did. That pleasure of reading stayed with me, and the satisfaction writing gives remains an integral part of my life today.

I have also learned that teaching encompasses more than imparting knowledge and skills. Example, enthusiasm, and respect of the subject from the teacher can make a student not just a learner but also a disciple. Often, the disciple will become a teacher as well. We can teach theology, but we help people learn what faith really means by how we live our lives as disciples of Christ.

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