The Sunday School Teacher

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The Sunday School Teacher is a blog that is adapted from a book of the same name by H. M. Hamill, D. D., written in 1901. The wisdom is as true today as it was over one hundred years ago.


October 5th, 2012 Published by: Old Fashioned Homemaking1The Sunday School Teacher is a blog that is adaptedfrom a book of the same name by H. M. Hamill, D. D.,written in 1901. The wisdom is as true today as it wasover one hundred years ago. Visit the blog at Teacher as a PastorThe World English dictionary from the defines "pastor" as a person who exercisesspiritual guidance over a number of people; an archaic wordfor shepherd. Although we may not have thought of ourposition in this way, a Sunday school teacher is a pastor to thestudents in his or her class. To this end:1. He must be a safe example.Paul admonished Timothy to "take heed unto thyself, and tothe doctrine." The first concern of a teacher should be himself. He cannot escape being an example. He will be closely copied,for good or evil. What is evil in him will be copied most surelyand closely. There is nothing truer than the old proverb: "Liketeacher, like scholar."Let the teacher not delude himself by assuming that a safepublic example, in the eye of the class and while on duty, isenough. He is all the more dangerous as a leader if there isanything questionable in his manner of life.2. He must be a faithful friend.Anyone can call himself "friend," but a truly faithful friend ishard to find. Such friendship does not depend on popularityor sentiment. It does not shrink from telling the truth in love. It keeps guard over the faults of one's students and speaks theword of admonition in season and in private.Paul saw the weak points in Timothy, and helped him byfaithful warning to overcome them. Jesus saw the crookedthings in Peter's life, and saved him out of them.To set a safe example is of negative value, unless there is addedto it the positive endeavor of a faithful friend who seeks to savehis students from themselves.3. He must "shepherd his flock."He carries, or ought to carry, the marks of the Good Shepherdupon him. He "knows his sheep." He "finds pasture for them." His sheep "know his voice," and are known of him, and "followhim."What Christ was to the twelve, the teacher must seek to beto his students - teacher, companion, friend, overseer, andpastor! Let him strive most of all to be able to say at the last,as Christ did the night before he died, "While I was with themin the world, I kept them in your name: those that you gaveme I have kept, and none of them is lost."Mastering the Art of TeachingTeaching is an art; therefore the teacher should strive tomaster it. There are three ways by which a teacher may learnhow to teach:1. ObservationIn every Sunday school there is someone (or more) who ranksas its most successful teacher. Observe this finest teacher, anddiscover his methods of teaching; study his way of getting andholding attention; see how he begins his teaching, and try tofind out his plan of putting the truth; note how he draws outhis students, and how he holds his class to the thought of theday's lesson. Watching a good teacher teach is a fine normalopportunity, and it is ready at hand for the use of every onewho seeks improvement.2. PracticePractice here, as elsewhere, makes perfect. No amount offine theory can take the place of the inevitable practice thatmust assure success. A good method may be discovered in theteaching of another. Take it, use it, and watch it effect uponyour own students. If it quickens interest, continue to use it. If not, drop it and try another.Be careful that you attempt only what your good judgmentapproves, but do not be afraid to make experiments. Whenyou find that you have a good, all-around method workingsuccessfully, hold to it, and try to make it better. But bewilling to practice the art of the teacher painstakingly, in theassurance that only by this slow process can you hope to attainease and skill. Be sure that success comes not by a singlebound, but by trial and error and much practice.3. Read Books on TeachingThere are many books on teaching. Get one or two, read themcarefully, think over them, compare what these books offerwith your ways of teaching. Then, put into practice what youhave digested, shaping it to the special needs of your class.October 5th, 2012 Published by: Old Fashioned Homemaking2The foundation principles of teaching will be found in mostof these books. One good book on teaching, thoroughlymastered, cannot fail to make you a better teacher. To readsuch a book is to sit at the feet of some teacher of largeexperience, and have him speak into your ear the best thoughtof a lifetime of labor and achievement.The Teacher's Work as aChristianThe teacher who is not a Christian in deed and in truthdiscredits the sacred place he holds. His first duty is to getright with God - that is, if he intends to continue teaching; ifnot, there is only one right course, he should resign. Here arethe marks of a true Christian teacher:1. He should have a clear and definite experience.Out of the heart the mouth speaks. The Sunday school teacherwho is himself untaught of God cannot efficiently teach hisclass the way of life.2. He should have an earnest purpose to save souls.To lead children to Christ is the supreme duty, and a teacher'sposition gives to him an opportunity beyond that of even theparent and pastor.3. The truly Christian teacher will use the "means of grace."These are prayer, tithing and giving, church attendance, Biblestudy, prayer, and so on. God has instituted these means, inthe full use of which there is spiritual growth. Without these,there will be a leanness of the soul.4. The teacher must exercise self-denial.When one becomes a Sunday school teacher, it is at once aquestion of example to others, rather than of allowance toone's own conscience in things doubtful.In other words, there may be an activity that you can do with aclear conscience. But if it would in any way offend a student, orunintentionally influence in a negative way, you should refrainfrom that activity.Importance of the SundaySchool TeacherThe author believes that the Sunday school teacher, accordingto Scripture, is second only to the preacher. His commissionis directly from God, and his place of usefulness is becomingmore and more recognized by the Church.To teach at all is a work of grave responsibility; but to teachthe Bible to childhood and youth, in the one formative periodof life, is an especially sacred vocation.The skilled Sunday school teacher, trained intellectually andspiritually for his great work, is the imminent need of thehome, the Church, and the State. The "signs of the times," ifthoughtfully interpreted, abundantly confirm this statement.The Bible is no longer taught in schools, and may not betaught enough in the homes. Often the Sunday school aloneis the place for Bible precepts to be taught. As Sunday schoolteachers, we must take our calling seriously and be workersthat "need not be ashamed."The Teacher as a BibleStudent1. The teacher must take time for study.A few minutes daily, is used with system, will accomplishmuch. Spasmodic and fitful study avails little. Time is neededfor meditation and reflection. Without these the preparationof a lesson will be superficial and without power. Thereshould be daily study. The daily habit, once formed, the studyintensifies.2. It should first be a study of the Bible itself, without the"helps."The mistake of many teachers is the preoccupation of the mindby the studies of others rather than by one's own first studyof the Bible text. However learned the helper may be, orexhaustive his exposition of the Bible, it cannot take the placeof the teacher's duty to himself as a student. "Knowledge ispower," but it is one's own home-grown knowledge that ismeant in that time-honored maxim.3. The teacher should learn to think for himself.He needs for his own growth to force his mind and heartthrough the slow and sometimes painful processes of thought. Th one who exercises grows. He cannot attain growth as athinker through the mental exercise of another. Here is theperil of many teachers. They count on being good thinkerswithout thinking, and lapse into servitude and inefficiency.4. The teacher should first apply the truth of the lesson tohimself.There is, or should be, in every Sunday school lessonsomething which the teacher can use for his own spiritualnourishment. Who feeds another should be careful to feedhimself. The fable of the French chef who prepared the finestfood for the guests, yet was found dead from starvation, isan illustration of those teachers who minister to the souls ofstudents, but go unnourished by the Word of Life.5. The teacher should study the whole Bible.Studying the weekly lessons is studying it "in spots." If nothingmore is attempted, this will not make a good Bible student.October 5th, 2012 Published by: Old Fashioned Homemaking3 The student who knows a whole book of the Bible knowsbetter the particular lesson that may be taken from it. Eachbook in itself is a unit of doctrine or history or prophecy, andis part of a yet greater unity in the whole Bible.IntroductionThe Teacher as a PastorMastering the Art of TeachingThe Teacher's Work as a ChristianImportance of the Sunday School TeacherThe Teacher as a Bible Student


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