The Independent Learner Model requires a great teacher and a teacher must have two things to be great. First, they must be gifted as a teacher. Teachers and artists have God-given abilities that can’t be trained into them. They must have the ability to command the respect and obedience of their students. They also must have the ability to convey what they know to others. This conveyance comes through direct instruction, questioning, and pointing students towards resources from which to learn.
The second thing a great teacher must have is knowledge and a passion for knowledge. Great teachers are constantly learning. One of the most important questions in a teacher interview is, “What have you read lately” and “Tell us about your favorite books?” Great teachers are well read and are always reading. It should go without saying, but we better say it: Teachers should also have a passion for their students, especially in this environment. It is possible that one teacher could wind up having the child as a student for several years. The impact will be great.
Teachers in a Christian school should, of course, know and follow the teaching of Jesus Christ. Their faith in Christ must be the impetus for their desire to teach. The ability to integrate Christian thought with all subject matter is essential. A student should see God glorified in all things.
The first curriculum guides were created in the 1890’s. Before then, guides weren’t needed. Before then, teachers were called masters; they knew their subjects. Not to discredit 21st century teachers, as we are almost all victims of the dumbing-down of education, but if we are going to be great teachers, we must actively self-educate ourselves. Self-education is, especially the classical kind, a tremendous undertaking, but one that should bring joy. A true education, such as what our forefathers would have received, changes who you are. It changes what you have to offer to the class.