OtherSpeak is an opportunity for Confessions readers to share approved content of their choice, particularly from outside the range of Shari Zook’s experience.
This post was submitted by Sarah Yoder Beiler, who went to college in Charlottesville, Virginia, and still lives in Charlottesville today. She has a perspective worth hearing.
I went to college to become a better teacher. I had been to CMTI and Faith Builders summer term and Teacher’s Week. I had read Rod and Staff’s bulky green Handbook for Creative Teaching cover to cover. In spite of those efforts at self-education, I still had a few students whom I was not equipped to teach. There was, for example, the case of the otherwise brilliant third grader who could not read.
So I went to college. I went to a secular college, because that was the only kind I could afford. I went warily, cautiously, making full use of those eyes in the back of my head that I had developed throughout seven years of teaching. I was prepared to be assaulted by ungodly philosophies. To my surprise, the Math teacher made jokes about – I couldn’t believe it – Math. The Music Appreciation class taught me to enjoy music – including hymns. In Early American Literature we read so many sermons that students grumbled, and the professor patiently explained that Christianity is the main subject of early American writing. The courses that were designed to show me how to teach math and reading to elementary students did just that. The courses on lesson planning and classroom management turned out to be very helpful in subsequent Sunday School lessons I taught.
To be fair to the fearful self that I used to be, I admit that I had one Literature professor who made disrespectful remarks about Christianity. One professor out of dozens. After several students in the class said that they were Christians, the professor began to swallow his sarcastic comments mid-phrase, nearly choking on his own unsavory words.
Throughout four years of secular college, I did not compromise on my beliefs, did not pretend to be other than what I was, and never felt disrespected for my faith. Was I an anomaly? I do not know. I only know what my experience was, and I know that experience took away my fear.
I wish that I would have a second chance to teach that third grader how to read. I don’t know for sure that I could teach him now, but I know my chances would be a hundredfold better than they were before I went to college. Those professors really know some things about how people learn to read.
– Sarah Yoder Beiler
Do you agree or disagree? Whether or not your experience matches Sarah’s, what do you wish you had learned sooner in life? If you could take any educational course you’d like, what would it be?