December 15, 2016
Teachers Talk - The Joy of Instruction
Erin Hiller, Teacher, Alberta Conference

“Nothing can be rightly known, if God be not known; nor is any study well managed, nor to any great purpose, if God is not studied. We know little of the creature, till we know it as it stands related to the Creator...” ~ Richard Baxter
Since my interests and my entire job as a teacher focus on learning and education, I thought I would share a few thoughts on what instructing young people means to me.  To have the privilege of standing in front of young people every day is challenging and so rewarding.  I strongly believe that God uses learning to show us His character and His mark on every part of this world.  As a teacher, I love being able to integrate His amazing love and wisdom into all the subjects that I teach. Proverbs 4:13 says to “take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life.”  As a teacher, it is so important to not only instruct our students, but to also be open to instruction, gaining wisdom, and being aware that knowledge starts with knowing and accepting God.  If we do not gain this then we lose our way from the start.  
I think that is why teaching at Adventist schools, and being able to share God and His love in every aspect of teaching, is so important to me.  It is only through touching the soul with God’s love that real progress in the mind, body and soul can happen.  Ellen White, in her book Education, states that education is the "harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers.  It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come" (p. 13).  For me, it is a humbling and awesome thing to know that God has called us to the service of showing His love for every single person on this planet.  It is what I try to bring to mind when I get impatient or lose sight of the fact that sin has brought most of the world to its knees in horrible ways.  Teaching has taught me that people are hurting and lost.  People are suffering.  It is awful thing to watch children suffer in any way and more than ever I realize how much God’s love needs to be shared.
So I challenge myself to keep in mind where instruction begins and why I need to have an open mind and heart to hear what God is trying to tell me.  Whether it is trying out a new teaching technique or finding a better way to reach a struggling student, instruction starts with God.  I am blessed to have the opportunity to teach in the Alberta Education system where God is discussed in every aspect of learning and teaching in a multi-grade setting has allowed me flexibility and the ability to have close, nurturing relationships with my students.  It is because of this that I can be a better instructor and learner myself and continue to change how I show God’s character to my students on a daily basis.
White, E. G. (1903). Education. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association.