Teaching is a profession in which we can easily follow in our Master’s footsteps. We’re in the business of tearing down walls of “hostility” and making peace between:
- students and a subject or skill. (Math! For me. Maybe it’s English or teaching methodology for you.)
- students and teacher, student and student as we attempt to build a team-like atmosphere in our classrooms.
- students and society as our class takes them one step closer to being prepared for life on the “outside.”
- students and self as we build their confidence, change their attitudes, and help them become lifelong learners.
- students and Yahweh as we carry His image into the classroom and take them before His throne.
Many teachers, English language teachers, for example, are in a unique position to tear down walls of both figurative and literal hostility. Their students may be viewed by others as outsiders and even heathens. Many are separated from home and family. Because of language and culture barriers, they are at times excluded from societies and systems. Some are without hope.
In their classrooms, teachers, of all sorts, feed the hungry, invite in the stranger, and break bread with the “unsafe” and “outsider.” In these acts of mercy, they make peace within and around their students. Then, they leave their classrooms and in both planned speech and idle conversation, label their students not with uns and outs but with “loved by Yahweh.” And so, they also broker peace between their students and the world.
Over the next few weeks on Master Teaching we’re going to continue exploring how teachers tear down walls of hostility. First, we’ll be reposting a few more of LEAPAsia’s WeChat posts where we are attempting to make peace between parents/teachers and Chinese school children who seem like slaves to the education system. Then, we’ve asked a few people to answer the question: What does “education as justice” mean to you?
You’re welcome to join us on our quest to learn what this means: I love mercy not sacrifice.