Studies

What I’ve learnt from the best teacher in the world

To all educators, Thir.st wishes you a Happy Teachers' Day. Thank you for the hard work you do. We're cheering you on!

Jared Goh // August 31, 2021, 2:57 pm

Best teacher

You’ve probably heard before that teaching is a profession that transforms the next generation.

But few like me would have the privilege of seeing how teaching transforms the teacher.

I am married to an incredible one — the best one, in fact, no bias — so I’ll let you in on how I’ve seen her touch lives and had her own life changed as well.

It’s truly a noble profession, and we should celebrate those who dedicate their lives to moulding the next generation. So here we go!

THE MIND IS TRANSFORMED

My wife has been a teacher since she graduated from university.

In no short time, I’ve seen her go from fresh-faced blur sotong in practicum, to receiving a steady stream of promotions — though each rank seems to come with a tremendous load of additional responsibility!

Cheering her on from the sidelines, I can attest that the marathon that is the teaching profession has not been a breeze.

As someone who is kind, soft and shy, she’s had to learn how to stand up for herself when other teachers abuse their seniority or even shout at her unprofessionally.

She’s had to be brave and reckon with her weaknesses, most notably in how she is wired.

As someone who is very prone to taking on a saviour mentality, she’s had to surrender to God her desire for control and affirmation based on meeting staff and students’ needs.

Teachers’ Day: Heartfelt tributes to those who moulded our minds

That means stopping herself to remember to rest, and acknowledging that it’s not healthy to chiong (rush) off to the next lesson or skip meals for consultations.

In that sense, her identity or performance as a teacher is not tied to wayang (putting on an act) or sacrifice — but on a day’s excellent work given to God with rest and toil in the right amounts.

As she lays down her rights and desires to Him, I’ve seen His hand mould her through the many joys and tears, conforming her increasingly into His likeness.

THE HEART IS TRANSFORMED

More than just the mind, I’ve also witnessed how her heart for the work and those around her has been grown by God over the years.

I’ve always known she’s had a passion for teaching, but what I didn’t expect was to see that passion grow into compassion and love.

Through her, I’ve come to see that teaching is about more than making sure a student gets a grade.

It’s about educating a young person in soft and hard skills, showing him or her how to take care of one’s holistic well-being as well as that of others’.

She comes back home and tells me about the student who’s facing mental health issues; or the one who’s being beaten at home by her parents; or the one who cheated on a test because of pressure pinned on her from a family’s hopes.

I pray for her as she goes to work and listens to them, teaches them about life and pours the love of God into these young lives.

And sometimes, when we’re outside, we meet some of them who are older and have gone on to tertiary education. To see them beating the odds and going on to thrive is always a reward in itself!

THE HANDS ARE TRANSFORMED

One thing that never fails to amaze me is my wife’s sheer capacity for work and service.

Looking at the hours she puts in, the sheer volume of scripts she brings home and all the extracurricular stuff she’s involved with, all I’ll say is that you don’t go into teaching for the money.

I’ve seen God take her passion and temper it into steely purpose. Whether that’s the teaching stuff. Or the teacher stuff on top of the teaching stuff. Or the student stuff on top of it all.

And then there’s the church stuff. The cell group and Alpha sessions. Meeting younger girls for mentoring. Meeting mentors. Talks and sermons.

To me, she has a capacity for others and the kingdom that has been moulded and enlarged by God’s hands through the faithfulness of her day-to-day work.

To all young teachers: Remember why we do this

Take it from someone who’s married to a teacher, suffice to say — it’s a job that is full of toil and can often be thankless.

I can’t imagine what two teachers married together would look like (probably quite the heroic sight!).

But at least from where I am standing, I’m able to say this: To my dearest wife, in your life, I have had the remarkable opportunity to see God move, face to face.

Thank you for that profound privilege, and Happy Teachers’ Day!

*The writer’s name has been changed for confidentiality.

THINK + TALK

  1. If you’re a teacher, how have you grown as an educator? Reflect on your journey and thank God for these lessons!
  2. If you’re not a teacher, pray for God to show you who you can teach and mentor in your life.
  3. Who’s a teacher or mentor in your life? Make an effort to thank and honour him or her this week!