Reflections of a Teacher

In my first year as lead teacher here at Yokohama Christian School, I have been asked a wide variety of questions by my curious students. “What does punctuation mean?” “If a liquid can be poured, is rice a liquid?” “What is faithfulness?” One that really made me think a bit was, “What is your favorite class?” 

At first I thought it might be Science. I enjoy seeing the students really wonder how things work in the world. For a teacher, there are few things more satisfying than when I explain how something works and the student lets out a long “Oooooohhhhh!” showing me that a lightbulb (or sometimes more like a floodlight) turned on in their brain and that student learned something new.

Then I thought it might be Math. It’s systematic and the same every time. It relates to the real world in many different ways. We get to play with money, blocks, shapes, and geoboards. 

But when I reflected on which subject I felt the most satisfied after teaching, I came to the conclusion that my favorite class is actually Bible. The students really get into the lessons. They answer questions actively, tell stories of their experiences, and genuinely try to fit what they are learning in class to their life at home. In Bible, there are lightbulb moments also, but instead of a long “Ooooohhhhhh”,  I usually notice a long silence. The Bible truths are hitting them on a deeper level than the science or math. There is an eternal significance in each lesson that makes me wish I could continue these lessons for hours. It gets me excited to teach every day.

Recently, I taught about the Ten Commandments, the moral law that God wrote to Moses with His finger on stone tablets (not the electronic kind). This is foundational for Christian understanding. Along with this teaching has to come with learning about sin, disobeying God’s will for us, which is the Ten Commandments. The students couldn’t talk enough about it. We had an excellent conversation. 

But were they really listening? Well, the next day during Elementary Worship, Pastor Skek asked if anyone knew what the Ten Commandments were. All of my students raised their hand. Then he asked if they could tell him some. Each one of my students answered with a different commandment. It was a beautiful moment. What satisfaction it brought it me to know that students were really listening and understanding God’s word. It almost brought a tear to my eye. But my satisfaction didn’t come from thinking how great a teacher I was. It came from knowing that the seeds of God’s word were deeply planted into their hearts and will be there for the rest of their lives. It came from the humble realization that God was and is using me to be His hands and feet (and mouth) to these precious, hungry children.

Romans 3:19 says, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.” Before we are saved by Jesus, we need to realize our need to be saved. The law (Ten Commandments) shows each one of us that we have sinned. That sin separates us from God and breaks His heart. We are all law breakers. I am a law breaker (many times over). We may think it is not a big deal. We may even try to avoid God just like a thief tries to avoid a police officer because he doesn’t want to get in trouble. But the verse we just read tells us that the whole world will be held accountable. What we’ve earned from our sins is death, eternity separated from Him. Eternity not in heaven. 

This is why I am excited for the upcoming Christmas season. The Good News is coming. The hope for the world to be saved from eternal death is taking on flesh to tell us how, not because of anything we did, but because of His immense love for us. 

I hope and pray that the Bible conversations had in class would continue at home with family or with friends. May they bless you as much as they have blessed me.