From Libby Holderness, Chaplaincy Administrator:
See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
“It’s not about how much your students like you”. My Dad once said this to me as I was first starting out as a teacher. It brought me solace at the time as I was really nervous and anxious and never came across to my students very well. This in turn made them apprehensive and worried, so they didn’t seem to like me very much. He suffixed it by saying “it’s who you are as a teacher”.
Thinking about it, these two comments come together as an inseparable package. For a long time, I tried to be like my Dad in teaching (and still strive to live up to the amazing model he set), and slowly became more aligned in the footsteps of this great master. He was well liked by his students, which is one of the reasons why he was such a fantastic mentor and instructor. Students really liked him, not because he was a popular teacher (as he wasn’t and tried hard not to be), but because he really cared about his students and wanted the best for them individually and chorally. He often bent the rules to make sure that his students learnt in the best possible way for them, and have the greatest learning experience he could offer. He could teach ‘terror’ classes to the same calibre as he could teach ‘angels’, and often delighted in teaching the former as they presented more of a challenge and showed more of their individual personalities.
He didn’t set out to be funny or charming, but told jokes and anecdotes where appropriate to motivate his students. He never tried to make friends with his students, but invariably increased his fan club as his students couldn’t help but see the gold within. In many ways, we’re all challenged to do the same; not to live life for what we can get out of it, but to give it our all in the hope that we will bring a smile to a friend’s, student’s, or stranger’s face.