5 Ways I Become a Better Teacher

Just the other day, I was reflecting on my career as a teacher and what I am thankful for. And one of the things the Lord laid upon my heart was to write down and share these 5 things that I know has made me a better teacher and will, I hope, continue to do so. Here are my 5 ‘E’s! =)

1. MENTAL Expansion

Not surprisingly, the broadening of horizons, widening of perspectives and constant exploration of new knowledge have been an essential part of why I always enjoy teaching a subject like General Paper (GP). Because GP covers such a wide swathe of topics, issues, and themes, I am ‘forced’ to read voraciously and serendipitously — something I thoroughly enjoy. The wisdom found in books and articles is amazing; to share it with my students – priceless.

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2. PHYSICAL Energy

I didn’t use to think that teaching is a physical activity as one would classify sports or athletics training. Yet, I’ve come to discover that teaching does demand physical energy and stamina at a level that is exhilarating and at times, breath-taking (literally!). And I find that on those days that I go to the gym for my workout, while I’m usually beat at the end of the session, I have a renewed vigour to teach my classes thereafter.

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3. EMOTIONAL Environment

This aspect is crucial in ways that I didn’t immediately realise. I’m constantly grateful to my wife and family who give me the unconditional love and support to do the things that God has given me to do. And cradled in this emotional sanctuary, I know that I can teach better, because I teach and minister out of the emotional capacity that has been filled up in my life – time and time again.

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4. SPIRITUAL Enablement

This brings me to the next aspect, which is also surprising to me when I first became aware of it. As I listen to sermons, read Christian books and am mentored by my church leaders and elders, unknowingly I find my teaching improving in terms of worldview, concepts, content, and lesson delivery. It’s quite inexplicable but I know it’s because of the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, for which I am always in awe and always humbled.

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5. SOCIAL Encouragement

When I first left the teaching service, one of the things that I really missed the most was having colleagues to interact with, have lunch with, and bounce ideas off. In the early years when I set up Irwin’s Study, I discovered that business can indeed be a lonely enterprise. But from last year, God has been so good to bless me with like-minded (and I must say, like-hearted) fellow tutors who have been so fun, inspiring and crazy to journey with!

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I’m Giving It Away

Over the past 1-2 weeks, I’ve been so blessed and humbled to receive so many birthday and Teachers’ Day messages from my students, including former students who have already graduated, are now in the university or even working!

On the opening night of the Intentional Disciplemaking Church (IDMC) Conference this year, Rev Edmund Chan made a profound statement that still reverberates in my spirit. He said that the meaning of life is to find your gift; the purpose of life is to give it away.

Thank you Lord for giving me the gifts of your abundant grace and love. Now I’m giving them away.

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