Teachers have the responsibility and privilege of impacting lives for eternity. While many cower at this task, there are ways to leave a lasting impact on your students in the years to come. Here are some practical tips for developing the next generation:
Be a Vessel Fit for Christ
When seeking to train and teach, we must realize our first priority is to be dependent upon the Lord. Whether a parent or a teacher, it is of great importance to realize God is our source of wisdom and guidance. As instructors seeking to influence a life for Christ and to instill Christlikeness in the life of the hearer, we would do well to remember the words of Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
Cast a Vision
When it comes to casting a vision, we are to be in the commissioning as well as in the commending process. Every instructor ought to inspire Christlikeness and Christian service in the heart of the student. The instructors of today need to be the vision casters for the leaders of tomorrow. Create a vision in your students that reaches for the stars. Teach them to dream big for God and His purpose for their lives. “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 11:37).
Encourage Dreams But Value Action
It is important to encourage students to dream big for God and to follow the God-given vision for their lives. Repeatedly, however, there is a malaise of going beyond the initial stage of vision and entering into a stage of productivity. Instructors need to be proactive in getting young people started on projects. A teacher should constantly seek for ways to “jump start” the student into areas of growth and godliness that are not already habitual in the life of the student.
Create Teachable Moments
Memories are created through the sharing and spending of time. The instructor must understand that these quality moments are often an outgrowth of quality time. The best memories are usually the times we spent with people, rather than the things we have purchased for them. It would be wise for the instructor to think each week, “What can I do this week to create a teachable moment?”
Don’t Do for Your Students What They Can Do for Themselves
Once an explanation has been given and students are allowed to solve the problems on their own, there is a sense of victory and accompanying vitality that gives tremendous power to the learning process. To some extent, this is teaching the students to step out by faith and to try on their own. Victory comes with accomplishment.
Challenge the Student to Sacrifice Good…for Great
Our lives are a compilation of choices we make. All too often, our choices involve settling for something that is good, instead of doing that which is great. Are we willing to be described as Acts 20:20 and Matthew 28:19–20 Christians? If this is so, the choice will be made to sacrifice what could be good for things of far greater importance and better long-term results. The instructor should help the student realize that the sacrifices made during our short tenure on earth will reap dividends that will last for eternity.
As we apply these truths to our teaching, our students will be able to glean and grow for God. Be a challenging teacher. Be an equipping teacher. As teachers, God has given us a great responsibility to train and develop the next generation.