Today, pastor shared the parable of Teddy. As far as I can tell, it is just that, a parable on the power a teacher can have, but it is a good one. Rather than cut and paste it here, I’ve linked to it above and will just comment on the lessons.
The basic story is that a bright elementary student lost his mother to illness around 2nd grade and entered a downward spiral in school and personality. His 5th grade teacher eventually learned the back story, stopped dreading his presence in class, began to work with him and turned things around, such that he went on to become a doctor, and had her stand in for his mom at his wedding.
In my own teaching, I’ve had a tendency to follow the conventional wisdom that in general, the A students will succeed no matter what you do, the average students will be average and the weak students will do poorly. Good teaching may shift where those boundaries are, but radical transformation is rare.
I still think that is largely true. But the conviction I received today was that because transformation does occur, then I should seek it out and nurture it, rather than let it happen on its own. I commit to having my TA’s point out the weak and struggling students to me, so that I can intervene and see if this one is a transformation needing a boost.
That is the call of a true teacher—to provide a solid educational environment for the majority to get what they want out of the lessons, then to actively seek out those needing and wanting to be lifted out of their situation.
Jesus died for all, and asks all who will to come, yet stories abound of Him reaching out special to those wanting but unable to find Him. Can we do any less in our teaching?