The most powerful pedagogy happens when there is a living convergence in a teacher of a love for God, a love for subject, and a love for student. It is simple. But, it is deep, and as true love does, keeps growing with a passion to know more about the beloved and to give more.
In the classroom with the three loves, in the moment of teaching, with sparkling eyes and reaching hands, the three loves search in the corners of knowledge and heart for just the right example, the most telling fact, the hook that will not let students get away. Truth and life are learned. Love is powerful.
The model isn’t simply knowing Jesus, understanding students, and earning a degree in a subject area. Great impact depends on a teacher’s love and passion for each of these: Jesus, students, and subject. A love that never ends, that is never satisfied or satiated. The love for each that commandeers a teacher’s heart and keeps him or her always pursuing, always learning, always hoping, always growing so that at the moment of the lesson in real time and real life, there is a fresh excitement and joy that draws from an ever increasing body of knowledge buoyed by an ever increasing love for God, students, and subject.
A teacher who loves wants this rich sweet spot now, all of the time, but knows it will take time to learn and grow and that they will have only moments of great teaching for a while before the moments pile on moments and become normal. This teacher knows that whatever others have learned and do, his or her joy comes from what he or she builds, not comparing to others because the well is deep enough for everyone and different in moment and place.
This teacher is sometimes hard to find because he or she just loves doing this with students and is immersed with them, not promoting self, very content to do her thing with students and not boast. This teacher never gives up and knows that there is always more, that even if something derails her heart and work, the best thing is to keep learning and loving and the passion will come back because real love is a commitment not a feeling. This teacher always looks for truth and rejoices in sharing what they find, never ending and always overflowing; she just can’t keep it in.
The teacher who loves God, students, and subject has something to offer that others don’t. Passion for each keeps the teacher relevant and current, and caring. Students don’t care to learn until they know the teacher cares. The impact for learning is greatest when it is obvious the teacher cares not only about the student, but also about the subject and God.
Because of this teacher’s love, which is always about an unconditional commitment to others and not just making everyone comfortable and happy, this teacher is something special. This teacher makes a difference, he or she can hardly help it because of the passion that overflows. Even if he or she is a rookie, a genuine and passionate love for God, students, and subject will make him or her valuable. This teacher will always profit a student, and not just be a dead spot in the student’s day.
A teacher who doesn’t care, who doesn’t love outside self, but is content or callous will never be a transformative teacher. He or she might warm a classroom and keep order, might even have students learn topics from the curriculum map, but will never make an impact worth remembering in the lives of students.
Love for God. Love for students. And love for subject–the gift the teacher gives. Brought together in a space with students sees lives transformed. By God’s grace.