To You, the Teacher: the non-linear, everyday work of learning and teaching



One year at the Carl Junction school book fair, I bought a teacher’s kit.

I administered tests to myself, pretended to be the student, missed a spelling word here and there so that, as the teacher, I could give myself a 98% instead of 100% with a bright red ink pen.

I wrote on my little chalkboard and used my apple stickers and recruited my stuffed animals to be adoring students.

As I got older, the desire to teach subsided, became replaced by other passions and pursuits. I got married, learned to lead worship, studied psychology and social work, discovered my love for people and community.

Later, after my boys were born and when they became old enough, I saw this most unexpected phenomenon come about– they could learn anything, anytime, anywhere.

And suddenly my sense of adventure was heightened, and I became someone that I’d left behind all those years ago– that little girl with the school teacher kit who ached for learning and teaching.

Only now, I was honing my craft morning by morning, those two boys guiding my way as much as I guided theirs.

One Sunday in church, our friend Jeremy began our sunday school class with a simple enough introduction– say your name and one thing you could teach somebody else.

The struggle to find the latter seemed to permeate the room as we went around the circle. What exactly am I good at? Can I actually teach something to someone? And am I willing to admit it?

I struggled for an answer, embarrassed that I might be good enough at something to help someone else learn from it, and terrified that I might not be.

But the humbling, beautiful truth of gifting is that every single person has something to give.

And a life lived in wonder engages every opportunity as a lesson, every moment a chance to gain something from the experience.




We’ve told ourselves over the years that learning looks like one thing in one environment, so much so that we fear what teaching would even look like in our everyday moments;

but we forget, then, that life is lived in so many spaces:

at the dinner table, we learn about one another as we explore our day;

on the front porch, we study rocks and birds and know that the world is something marvelous;

at the work desk, we stretch ourselves into new capacities and challenges;

on a short neighborhood walk we encounter and engage with the people around us and remember why the human experience is so sacredly beautiful;

and on our beds at night, we search our hearts and seek to understand who we are in this world.

And so, to teach anything to anyone comes from a heart that learns and seeks to learn. 

It is certainly intimidating to teach as a mother– even more so as a school-at-home mother, but I see with every minute spent invested in learning that teaching is a gloriously natural part of our life cycle.

We teach, we learn, we discover, we teach again, and nothing about it is linear, and nothing bout it is calculated exactly the way we’d expect it to be. 

Right now, in ten minutes, tomorrow morning standing over the coffee pot, is a moment asking to be noticed, and if we remember who we are and what we are wired for, that moment becomes something monumental, something holy and good in our day.

To you, the learner, I say:

Learn and do not be afraid.

And to you, the teacher, I say:

Learn more and teach, and do not be afraid.

And on and on ’til Kingdom come and then after,

may our perpetual learning be lead to perpetual teaching, glorious transformation meeting us at every turn.



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