Have You Found the Secret of Teaching?

Li Min

When I was a child, I had high regard for teachers. After graduation from senior high school, I got my wish and became a teacher in a private primary school, and then I made a firm resolution: Children are the flowers of our motherland. I must educate them carefully to make them pillars of the state when they grow up, lest I should bring disgrace on the sacred title of “the engineer of the human soul.”

students in the classroom

When working as a teacher, at the beginning, I gave the excellent students more encouragement and also helped the poor students with their lessons patiently. It surprised me that my class ranked last in the exam. I felt very dismayed and thought: In the last six months, I taught assiduously and conscientiously, but why did my class do so badly in the exam? As I could find out no way, a close colleague had a heart-to-heart talk with me: “You should treat these students harshly. Spare the rod and spoil the child. So, if they can’t get good scores, you should punish them and give them some pressure. Gradually their scores will be improved.” I was astonished at these words. And I thought: The responsibility of a teacher is to teach and nurture people. In order to improve the students’ exam results, a teacher puts pressure on them and punishes them, then does he have professional ethics? But considering that I have just entered into this profession and the competition was so fierce, if the exam results of my class always stayed in the last place, I can’t teach at this school. For the sake of my career prospects, I tried to accept my colleague’s “experience” after turning this matter over and over in my mind.

At first, I didn’t have the heart to mete out physical punishment to them. Over time, my conscience became dull. Thus, I often asked disobedient students to remain standing in the playground; When they got up to mischief, I pulled their ears or spanked them; If they didn’t hand in homework, I would ask them to copy the homework for many times and stand on the platform; Sometimes I called their parents to teach them. As a result, those students behaved themselves in my class and everyone feared me and treated me with great respect. After six months, their exam results rose from the last to third from last. It seemed that my colleague’s method was effective.

Afterward, their exam scores rose rapidly and ranked among the best always. Meanwhile, I was assessed as an advanced teacher for many times. Ten years later, I was promoted to teach in a public school. Soon I was transferred from a rural school to an urban one. I saw my colleagues there also educated students by meting out corporal punishment to them. Civilized teaching didn’t exist at all. In addition, for improving exam scores, those teachers arranged the seats painstakingly by matching outstanding students with slow students before exams. Furthermore, they put pressure on the outstanding students by requiring them to “help” slow students. Teachers told those outstanding students, “if the slow students do poorly in exams and affect the total scores of the class, you will lose your opportunity of being assessed as excellence.” Additionally, teachers also instilled into their students the idea that “Fullness for the bold, famine for the timid.” Besides, they told them to seize every chance to copy other’s and those who could get high scores by copying were proved to be really capable. Even those students who didn’t normally hand in their homework could get over eighty scores in the exam in the end. In this way, not only would the students and their parents be happy, but teachers would also be happier. The headmaster knew it in his gut and everyone had a tacit understanding. Only by seeing this did I know that the teaching method was the same in rural places and urban areas. It was indeed true that “All crows under the sun are black,” and “Exams are the most effective method for teachers and scores are the lifeblood to students.” In order that I could stay at the school, I promptly followed their teaching method.

Before long, some students of our school were sent back to school by policemen because they climbed onto the moving train, including a student in my class. Contrary to my expectations, after coming back, this boy bickered with other students and then they fought with each other. Moreover, he took a knife and intended to revenge them. If it were not caught timely, the consequence would be unpredictable; When holding sport competitions, the school, advocating the slogan, “Friendship comes first and competition second,” intended to enhance the friendship among students. To my surprise, the students of my class voluntarily organized together, shouting the slogan wantonly, “Defeat the other class firmly!” That raised a strife between two classes. In addition, a girl envied another girl’s good grades. They usually attacked, abused and fought with each other so that their parents fell out with each other too, which left a shadow on their young mind. … I was lost in thought after seeing all these matters: Are these “fruits of education” come out through my “careful” education over these years? “Teaching and nurturing people,” how sacred duty it is! “A teacher is an engineer of the human soul.” What a glorious title it is! But what did I bring to these children? How could I educate them well? I felt confused.

When I was at a loss, my relative preached God’s kingdom gospel to me. Through reading God’s words and living the church life, my heart came to be attracted by His words. One day, I saw God’s words: “There is an enormous secret in your heart. You never know it there because you have been living in a world without light shining. Your heart and your spirit have been taken away by the evil one. Your eyes are covered by darkness; you cannot see the sun in the sky, nor the twinkling star in the night. Your ears are clogged with deceptive words and you hear not the thunderous voice of Jehovah, nor the sound of the rushing waters from the throne. You have lost everything that should have belonged to you and everything that the Almighty bestowed upon you. You have entered an endless sea of bitterness, with no strength of a rescue, no hope of survival, left only to struggle and to bustle about. … From that moment, you are doomed to be afflicted by the evil one, kept far away from the blessings of the Almighty, out of reach of the provisions of the Almighty, and you embark on a road of no return. A million calls can hardly rouse your heart and your spirit. You sleep deeply in the hands of the evil one, who has lured you into the boundless realm, with no direction, with no road signs. Henceforth, you have lost your original purity, innocence, and started to hide from the care of the Almighty.” God’s words lit up my heart like a lamp, through which I saw I have been corrupted by Satan and lost my direction. I thought: When I started to be a teacher, in conformity with the sacred duty of a teacher, I did my part with a sense of responsibility and had a clear conscience. However, facing the fierce competition, in order to remain as a teacher in the school, I went against my conscience at any cost, carrying out corporal punishment. In consequence, those students were scared of me just like mice met a cat. During examinations, I encouraged them to cheat, instilled them the thoughts “Fullness for the bold, famine for the timid,” and “The fittest will survive.” Consequently, they were wrecked both physically and mentally. However, if I had not been awakened by God’s words, I would have still educated them in an immoral way, which would hurt these naive and innocent children. Realizing this, I prayed to God, “O God, I will no longer follow Satan. Please guide and lead me, so that I can live under Your protection and care.”

One day, I read these words of God, “In your seeking, you have too many individual notions, hopes, and futures. The current work is in order to deal with your desire for status and your extravagant desires. The hopes, the desire for status, and the notions are all classic representations of satanic disposition. The reason that these things exist in people’s hearts is entirely because Satan’s poison is always corroding people’s thoughts, and people are always unable to shake off these temptations from Satan. They are living in the midst of sin yet do not believe it to be sin. … For many years, the thoughts that people have relied upon for their survival have been corroding their hearts to the point that they have become treacherous, cowardly, and despicable. Not only do they lack willpower and resolve, but they have also become greedy, arrogant, and willful. They are utterly lacking any resolve that transcends the self, and even more, they don’t have a bit of courage to shake off the strictures of these dark influences.” From these words, I came to realize: Over these years, for the purpose of saving face and preserving my standing, I kept working hard and acting unscrupulously, hoping to gain a foothold in the education world and other’s admiration. I have been actually driven by the thoughts of Satan, “People want to move up as water has to flow down,” and “Stand out from others and pursue to stand high among people.” When I pursue fame, gain and status, I have been taken captive by Satan and become a servant of them, betraying my conscience to teach and living in pain. This is exactly the contemptible means by which Satan corrupted man. I made my resolution to get rid of these wrong view points and no longer willing to be used by Satan.

Afterward, I voluntarily made apologies to my students in class: “Dear students, I only knew to treat you rudely in the past. I am sorry. Now, I hope you can supervise me. If you find I do something wrong in the future, please tell me and I will change.” After saying this, I felt a sense of release. Then they all looked at me in amazement, and whispered: “What’s wrong with our teacher today? Even her tone has changed. Does she really mean that? …” After a while, the monitor incredibly stood up and asked me, “Miss Li, won’t you punish us any longer?” I nodded with a smile. Then they made some proposals, “Miss Li, I think you are a little partial, please pay more attention to us.” “Miss Li, if something happens in school, please solve it in school and don’t tell our parents.” Hearing the low students were willing to speak, I felt very gratified. It seemed that the relationship between us was closer suddenly. It was all due to God’s guidance. Thank God! Thereafter, when seeing me, they greeted me actively and they became attentive in class; after class, my appearance wouldn’t put a sudden stop to their laughter; some slow students actively found me for making up missed lessons and asked me questions. Moreover, some helped me fetch water when I was watering flowers in the schoolyard. … Their small changes made me feel pleased for practicing the truth.

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