Doing a bit of thinking

One of the reasons I choose to call myself a rookie, and plan to for my whole career, is to keep me from being arrogant. Yes, I want to be the best youth minister in the world. But that doesn't have anything to do with me, or whatever status might come along with that. It's because God called me to this ministry and He, (and my students) deserve nothing less than that from me.

It's struck home this semester how much I need to avoid arrogance. I've been taking an "Intro to classroom teaching" course and part of the course was a classroom observation series in local schools. I saw some amazing teaching that inspired me to go back to my youth group and immediately start using some of the things I saw. I also saw some really poor teaching; teachers who didn't care, and didn't stretch themselves, so their students stayed right where they started. And I saw some teachers who were right in the middle, doing the very best they could and not seeing many results.

It's easy not to be arrogant in the presence of great teachers, because they are so obviously better at it than me and I am eager to learn from them. It's nearly as easy to avoid arrogance when I'm watching bad teachers, because my thoughts get extreme enough about how much better than that I want to be that I can identify them and stop them right away. But in the middle is the hardest part. In the middle I'm caught between my incredibly high ideals, that get boosted by my education professor, and knowing the reality of how students can often seem callous and non-absorbent.

So in that place, I need to be the most careful. I need to consciously watch for what a teacher cares about. I need to see the small ways (often very small ways) the students show their respect and interest. And however long I'm there, I need to ask myself, "What would make me do the same thing this teacher is doing?" rather than "I can't believe she's doing that... I have a much better plan!"

Arrogance is one of the great killers of great youth ministers. And great teachers. And only when we break through it can we keep on learning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said, Rooks. Bonhoeffer and others write about how pride, superbia, is the root of all sins. Arrogance and pride are sort of similar, I think...