Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work


Chapter 20—Qualifications of Teachers

Let teachers feel that, whatever the character of the difficulty, they must meet it in the spirit of Jesus. Do not meet combativeness with combativeness. You will have to deal with wilfulness, stubbornness, indolence, and frivolity; but under all emergencies manifest kindness and love, and, by patience and self-control, keep your hold upon your pupils’ affection, and let them have reason to know that your whole desire is to do them good. Show your scholars that you have confidence in them. Visit them at their homes, and invite them to your home. Let it be seen that you love them not only in word, but in deed and in truth. TSS 80.1

The teacher need lay no special claims to dignity, since he can gain the respect of his pupils in no other way than by a Christlike deportment, in manifesting kindness and Christian courtesy. The teacher is to educate the pupils as Christ educated His disciples. He must make impressions that time can not efface. His influence should mold his scholars after the divine Pattern; and if he does this, eternity alone will tell the value of his labor. The teacher must awaken in his pupils the moral nature, and inspire in them a desire to respond to the divine agencies. TSS 80.2

Those who are selfish, peevish, dictatorial, coarse, and rough, who do not carefully regard the feelings of others, should never be employed as teachers. They will have a disastrous influence upon their students, moulding them after their own character, thus perpetuating evil. Persons of this character will make an effort to break a boy's will, if he is unruly; but Christ has authorized no such manner of dealing with the erring. Through heavenly wisdom, through meekness and lowliness of heart, teachers may be able to direct the will, and lead in the way of obedience; but let no one imagine that by threatening, the affection of the student may be gained. We must work as Christ has worked. TSS 81.1

Many underestimate the evil of an error in themselves who fully recognize its influence in another. On every side we meet those who are entirely ignorant of possessing characteristics which need to be modified. Others can see their objectionable traits of character; but when they are reproved, they imagine that they have been misjudged. The teacher should closely examine his own heart, in the light of eternity, that he may represent before his pupils that which he desires them to be. He should be a daily learner in the school of Christ, abiding in Christ as the branch abides in the vine, that he may impart to others that which he has received from Christ. TSS 81.2

The teacher who would bring his students under discipline must himself first come under the control of Christ. Jesus has said, “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” With divine enlightenment you can work as Christ worked; for His light may shine through you upon the pathway of every impenitent transgressor with whom you are associated. Are you indeed an instructor in the ways of God? If you are a converted teacher, you will be able to win, not drive, to attract, not repulse, the souls for whom Christ has died. You will guard and care for the sheep and lambs of Christ's fold. If they stray, you will not leave them to perish, but will go forth to seek and to save that which is lost. All heaven will be ready to aid you in this good work. The angels will aid you in your effort to find the key to the heart of the most incorrigible and unruly. You will receive special grace and strength through Christ, who is able to supply you from His immeasurable fulness. You will then be qualified to be a laborer together with God, one with Christ in your effort to save the lost, and the result of your labor of love will be seen not only in time, but through all eternity.—Sabbath-School Worker, January, 1893. TSS 82.1