Monday, December 6, 2010

Teaching and Learning

Have I ever told you how much I LOVE teaching! This semester I have had some exceptionally good classes. Of course, all semesters are basically good, but this semester in most of my classes the students have opened up and added to the discussion more than usual. They have been humble and eager to learn. Surprisingly that doesn’t always happen.

One semester I had a young returned missionary that was visibly upset when I was teaching. Finally one day he angrily said to me, “I’ve been studying the Book of Mormon every day for three years now and the things you are teaching me aren’t in this book.” I invited him to come to my office and talk through the problem and as he talked I realized that if I ever taught anything he didn’t already know he figured it was false doctrine. Filled with pride he didn’t see how I (who had been studying the Book for over 35 years) could know any more than he did. That kind of attitude in a class affects the entire class and makes it difficult to teach.

But this semester has been different. This morning in my first class I found myself gratefully looking out over the students as we sang the opening hymn and feeling an overwhelming outpouring of love for them. And the discussion that followed was wonderful. I love watching the lights go off in their eyes as they learn, and today there was even a startled vocal gasp as something dawned on one student. I know it is not me. I realize that the spirit is teaching them, but I feel so blessed to be a facilitator and a witness to the process. 

I’ve also learned from all of this the importance of being a good student. In Sunday School or Relief Society or Sacrament Meeting, anyplace where we go to be taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, our own attitude determines what or if the Spirit can teach us. Even if a teacher is over prepared or  under prepared, we can learn if the Spirit is with us and we are open and teachable. That reminds me. Have I ever told you how much I LOVE learning? Well, I do!


runningfan said...

I loved this post! I'm a Relief Society teacher and really struggle to engage the women I teach. They sit on the last two rows, scowling at me! No one will comment. Your story made me think that maybe it's not me. Do you have any tips for a total stranger? :)

DeAnnaLynn said...

Your class is still one of my most favorites I had at BYU. It set a high expectation for every other class I took, especially my religion ones. Thank you for being such a wonderful, spiritual, loving teacher.