The Art of the Teacher

Welcome to Teachers Talking for Term 3. Last term we explored the wonder and riches of God’s word that is to shape our lives and practice as teachers. Parker Palmer in his book The Courage to Teach reminds us that it is the person within the teacher that matters most in education. Research consistently demonstrates that teacher quality is the greatest in-school influence on student engagement. As a teacher was once overheard to say, ‘the quality of a school never rises above the level of the staff common room.’

But in our nation, teaching is a multi-faceted task and often difficult. Every day teachers face the challenges of competing demands, satisfying different stakeholders, such as parents, school leadership and the Education Departments and at the same time making many educational decisions that impact students on a daily basis.

This is happening in a culture where families are increasingly fragmented, and students are offering increasing levels of anxiety and meaninglessness. Many parents see the teachers’ role as helping their children to become happy, successful, understood, often only in economic terms. Schools are increasingly complex institutions and likewise the role of teachers.

All teachers will experience good days and bad days and the bad days can bring suffering that comes from loving our students and grappling with how to effectively fulfil the role we play in their lives. In our culture where teacher competence is the main focus, it is important to deepen our self-understanding as one who cares about teaching, for the more one loves teaching the more heart-breaking it can be.

Amid unprecedented challenges, we need to be reminded of our God-given purpose and passion and reconnect who we are with what we do.

In this context, knowing God’s calling to teach provides the deep sense of purpose and motivation that will sustain us and give direction for the work of forming students into the people God designed them to be. Term 3 Teachers Talking will assist us to explore our calling as teachers and how we live it out daily. In Ephesians 2:10, the Apostle Paul says that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works.  The word workmanship can also be translated as God’s poem or artwork. Our theme is ‘The Art of the Teacher’, expressed through your unique life as an image bearer of God.

God’s story invites us into a life of communion with our Heavenly Father and participation in His eternal purpose. We are to help our colleagues, brothers and sisters in Christ, to go beyond over-reliance on technique to embrace teaching as a vocational journey. In the midst of the joy and pain of school life, the capacity to persevere and be faithful to our calling is firmly anchored in the call to teach, both individually and corporately.

We trust these talks will encourage and bless you in your noble calling to teach.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)


Grace and Peace
TEC Team