by Churich Cortez |
Bachelor of Arts in English | Philippines

Deciding what you want to be is hard. I, for example, never dreamed of becoming a teacher, yet teaching is what I now do. Being an educator is both a privilege and a responsibility. Teaching is a privilege because a teacher has the opportunity to help others make changes in their lives. On the other hand, teaching is a responsibility, for one needs to influence others positively. A teacher must not merely teach lessons from textbooks but should also inculcate values and, above all, impart knowledge of the Scriptures for spiritual growth. As Titus 2:7-8 says, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech that cannot be condemned....” A teacher must be a role model for students, just as Jesus was. He is a perfect example for everyone. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

When I was still young, I wanted to become a lawyer or a pharmacist. The latter was quite impossible to achieve because medical courses in the Philippines are so expensive. So I opted for political science to pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer, but I stayed in the program for only one semester because the experience was an expectation-versus-reality one. After I realized that being a lawyer is not for me, I shifted to a bachelor of arts major in English and graduated in 2016. One reason I know I made the right decision is that I did not encounter problems with Saturday classes. The department I was enrolled in was not prejudiced when it comes to religion; everyone’s beliefs were respected. I even had teachers who were Adventists; hence, I was excused from all my Saturday classes without having any problem with my grades.

At first, I considered teaching as a mere job opportunity. Later I realized that God had put me into this field for a reason. Now I consider it as God’s calling. Teachers have a vast opportunity to share the gospel. Teaching is one of the perfect platforms from which to talk about the love of Jesus. In my first year of teaching in the Philippines, at an Adventist school, we teachers were encouraged not only to teach the students lessons found in their books but also to impart something from the Bible to inspire and mold them spiritually. Thus, the term “Integration of Faith into Learning” (IFL) was introduced. We started our classes by discussing a specific verse, a story, or any passage from the Bible or Testimonies related to the textbook’s lessons. It is an effective way for our message to reach many children.

This approach to learning is good. It was possible in an Adventist school, but things are different in other schools, which operate according to local and international regulations. Today I teach in Thailand. It is a new experience, for the teaching strategies are different from those in the Philippines. Few students, for example, understand and speak English fluently. The language barrier is a big challenge for teachers. On another note, Thailand is also known to be a country in which 95% of its population is Buddhist. People are dedicated to the teachings of Buddha, which are evident in their culture and traditions. People there have little knowledge of Christianity, making it challeng- ing for teachers and missionaries to share the truth and exercise the IFL approach. But through time, along with the mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus, we can overcome these challenges. Right now, we teach students Christian songs and gradually share our message.

With these experiences as a teacher, I realize that Bible truth and a knowledge of Jesus are more effective than anything else in helping students understand our world better. Teaching is a challenging task but, with God’s help, it can be done well. As the saying goes, “It takes a big heart to shape little minds.” Finally, it is not the responsibility of only teachers, pastors, workers, and missionaries to share the good news. We are all commissioned to spread the gospel with both our friends and foes. We may not know what to say, but God will guide and direct us. As Luke 12:12 says, “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” Exodus 4:12, “Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say,” gives further encouragement. Teaching may be hard at first, but with patience, perseverance, and the strength given by God, we can help to change someone else’s life and bring people to the feet of Jesus.

by Churich Cortez |
Bachelor of Arts in English | Philippines

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