April 28, 2012

Brett Justus, an ATP and FAA Gold Seal flight instructor, links the importance of humility to teaching. Although his counsel is specifically for flight instructors, the principle applies equally to Sabbath School teachers and issues of faith. He writes:

“How does a good pilot become a good teacher? Books have been written on the subject. Learning to fly is a challenging and dynamic endeavor. Many subtle, personal skills are required to excel in fully and effectively molding safe, skilled pilots.

“I think humility should be the first skill added to an instructor’s tool belt. When this attribute is embraced, the door will be open for all the other skills necessary to be a true teacher.

“Revealing humility in your approach will help defensiveness end, so learning can begin. More of your students will complete their training if you assure them that you and others have struggled with certain areas, just as they are currently struggling. You don’t have to show your students what a great pilot you are. They already know you’re a skilled pilot. Show them what a good teacher you are by sharing specific instances of when you had problems with the current maneuver that they can’t seem to perfect. Then they will be encouraged and tell themselves, ‘If my instructor could get through this and get to where he or she is now, then I guess Ica do it too!’”