The Voice in Speech and Song


Chapter 6—The Role of Teachers

A Message of Eternal Import—Every Christian is called to make known to others the unsearchable riches of Christ; therefore he should seek for perfection in speech. He should present the Word of God in a way that will commend it to the hearers. God does not design that His human channels shall be uncouth. It is not His will that man shall belittle or degrade the heavenly current that flows through him to the world. VSS 36.1

We should look to Jesus, the perfect Pattern; we should pray for the aid of the Holy Spirit, and in His strength we should seek to train every organ for perfect work. VSS 36.2

Especially is this true of those who are called to public service. Every minister and every teacher should bear in mind that he is giving to the people a message that involves eternal interests. The truth spoken will judge them in the great day of final reckoning. And with some souls the manner of the one delivering the message will determine its reception or rejection. Then let the word be so spoken that it will appeal to the understanding and impress the heart. Slowly, distinctly, and solemnly should it be spoken, yet with all the earnestness which its importance demands.—Christ's Object Lessons, 336. VSS 36.3

Obedience to God's Word—In every line of instruction, teachers are to seek to impart light from the Word of God, and to show the importance of obedience to a “Thus saith the Lord.” The education should be such that the students will make right principles the guide of every action. This is the education that will abide through the eternal ages.—Fundamentals of Christian Education, 516. VSS 37.1

The Cleansed Life an Effective Example—The teacher whose soul is stayed upon Christ will speak and act like a Christian. Such a one will not be satisfied until the truth cleanses his life from every unessential thing. He will not be satisfied unless his mind is day by day molded by the holy influences of the Spirit of God. Then Christ can speak to the heart, and His voice, saying, “This is the way; walk ye in it,” will be heard and obeyed.—Fundamentals of Christian Education, 526. VSS 37.2

Encouraging Words—Show sympathy and tenderness in dealing with your pupils. Reveal the love of God. Let the words you speak be kind and encouraging. Then as you work for your students, what a transformation will be wrought in the characters of those who have not been properly trained in the home! The Lord can make even youthful teachers channels for the revealing of His grace, if they will consecrate themselves to Him.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 152. VSS 37.3

Force and Enthusiasm—The teacher should constantly aim at simplicity and effectiveness. He should teach largely by illustration, and even in dealing with older pupils should be careful to make every explanation plain and clear. Many pupils well advanced in years are but children in understanding. VSS 38.1

An important element in educational work is enthusiasm. On this point there is a useful suggestion in a remark once made by a celebrated actor. The archbishop of Canterbury had put to him the question why actors in a play affect their audiences so powerfully by speaking of things imaginary, while ministers of the gospel often affect theirs so little by speaking of things real. “With due submission to your grace,” replied the actor, “permit me to say that the reason is plain: It lies in the power of enthusiasm. We on the stage speak of things imaginary as if they were real, and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.” VSS 38.2

The teacher in his work is dealing with things real, and he should speak of them with all the force and enthusiasm which a knowledge of their reality and importance can inspire.—Education, 233. VSS 38.3

A Few Words, Not Long Speeches—Those who instruct children should avoid tedious remarks. Short remarks and to the point will have a happy influence. If much is to be said, make up for briefness by frequency. A few words of interest now and then will be more beneficial than to have it all at once. Long speeches burden the small minds of children. Too much talk will lead them to loathe even spiritual instruction, just as overeating burdens the stomach and lessens the appetite, leading even to a loathing of food. The minds of the people may be glutted with too much speechifying. Labor for the church, but especially for the youth, should be line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Give minds time to digest the truths you feed them. Children must be drawn toward heaven, not rashly, but very gently.—Testimonies for the Church 2:420. VSS 38.4

Every Word Distinctly Spoken—The teacher of truth is to take heed how he presents the truth. He is to speak every word plainly and distinctly, with that earnest conviction which carries conviction to hearts. If the words spoken are crowded upon each other, the impression that should be made is lost. The talent of speech needs to be cultivated, that the truth be spoken not excitedly, but slowly and distinctly, that not a syllable may be lost.—The Southern Work, October 27, 1903. VSS 39.1

Correct Use of Language—One of the most essential qualifications of a teacher is the ability to speak and read distinctly and forcibly. He who knows how to use the English language fluently and correctly can exert a far greater influence than one who is unable to express his thoughts readily and clearly.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 216. VSS 39.2

Intelligent Articulation—The teacher should cultivate his powers, cultivate his speech so as to speak distinctly, giving intelligent articulation.—Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 97. VSS 40.1

Simplicity of Christ's Words—The Pharisees scoffed at Christ; they criticized the simplicity of His language, which was so plain that the child, the aged, the common people heard Him gladly, and were charmed by His words. The Sadducees also derided Him because His discourses were so unlike anything delivered by their rulers and scribes. Those Jewish teachers spoke in monotonous tones, and the plainest and most precious scriptures were made uninteresting and unintelligible, buried under such a mass of tradition and learned lore that after the rabbis had spoken, the people knew less of the meaning of the Scriptures than before they listened. There were many souls starving for the Bread of Life, and Jesus fed them with pure, simple truth. In His teaching He drew illustrations from the things of nature and the common transactions of life, with which they were familiar. Thus the truth became to them a living reality; the scenes of nature and the affairs of daily life were ever repeating to them the Saviour's precious teachings. Christ's manner of teaching was just what He desires His servants to follow.—Fundamentals of Christian Education, 242, 243. VSS 40.2

Kindness in Reproof—Let the teacher bring peace and love and cheerfulness into his work. Let him not allow himself to become angry or provoked. The Lord is looking upon him with intense interest, to see if he is being molded by the divine Teacher. VSS 40.3

The child who loses his self-control is far more excusable than the teacher who allows himself to become angry and impatient. When a stern reproof is to be given, it may still be given in kindness. Let the teacher beware of making the child stubborn by speaking to him harshly. Let him follow every correction with drops of the oil of kindness. He should never forget that he is dealing with Christ in the person of one of Christ's little ones. VSS 41.1

Let it be a settled maxim that in all school discipline, faithfulness and love are to reign. When a student is corrected in such a way that he is not made to feel that the teacher desires to humiliate him, love for the teacher springs up in his heart.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 212. VSS 41.2