Last night the Cary Alliance Hebrew Grammar II class met for another grueling lesson. My three students (Christine Davies, Rodney Harvill, and Ingrid Sprecher) learned about pronominal suffixes on the verb. For those of you unfamiliar with Hebrew, this means that you can express an entire sentence with one word: complete with subject, verb, and direct object. I, on the other hand, continued to learn an important lesson about knowledge, learning, and teaching.
First, if you want to know a subject well, start teaching it. In our own personal studies, we often pass over important nuances, or we assume too much. Your students, if they are anything like mine, will force you to consider the material you present from various perspectives. Their eyes will pick up on the nuances you missed. They will not permit lazy thinking.
Second, teaching necessitates humility; this is especially true if you are teaching a subject for the first time. Your students will ask valid questions that you are not capable of answering. You will provide answers that their persistent observations will discredit. Do not be obstinate or bitter. Welcome the inquisitive student. Welcome criticism. Only when you receive them in humility are you able to be transformed into a better teacher. It is interesting how this principle also applies to the Christian life; the only way up is down.
To my Hebrew students,
Thank you for bearing with me in my shortcomings, forcing me to learn my subject better, and constantly modeling true discipline.