Jesus is the most profound person to have ever walked the earth. It wasn’t only that he was the Son of God, but the way that he taught that drew people to himself and allowed him to easily spread his godly message. He spoke and taught to his audience, sometimes very clearly, other times in parables that allows us to ponder and think about the deeper meaning. “99 Ways to Teach Like the Master” by T.J. Burdick takes the methodologies that Jesus used to teach, explains what he did in detail and gives us ways to use his methods to share knowledge with others, whether that be in our own families or teaching students, even when teaching might not be our strength.
“Mary’s role is a constant reminder for us humans to accept God’s gifts even when we find them unorthodox. Without her, Jesus would never have been able to step outside of heaven and share His love with all humanity.
“Your students are unique…As we create new lesson plans and brainstorm different activities, it is important to remember that, although our weaknesses might be exposed at times, our mission remains the same – we are to say “fiat” or “yes”, to Christ’s call to instruct our children well. (3. Fiat, pg 13)”
Learning how Jesus taught us helps us to teach others in his same way allowing the student to absorb any information we are trying to pass along to them. In the book, T.J. covers 99 topics, starting each one with a Bible verse to use as an example or teaching method, and follows it with insight and ways to apply it to the classroom or improve yourself as a teacher or leader. It is not just for teaching the Bible truths, but these instructions can be applied for teaching any subject because it demonstrates effective ways to pass along any information we are trying to teach. For example, number 40 is titled “Getting Frustrated” and speaks about how frustration is not a fun part of the job, but if we use it to increase our own self-control and endurance, frustration can actually be used to make us stronger, healthier and more pure teachers.
I really liked lesson #47 Shock Value. As a catechist, I only have an hour and a half (often times less due to other activities) to teach the kids their lesson. While it may be easy to just have them take turns reading out of their workbooks, the lesson will be more memorable if the kids come out of the book and I teach them in a more “shocking to them” way. Burdick quotes the Bible verse was from Mark 9:42-48, where Jesus states, “It would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck” should he cause a little one to sin. Burdick explains that sometimes when we teach we can get into such a routine that our classes become boring and tedious. Sometimes we need to be a little shocking to wake up the kids and get them excited about learning again.
“Teaching in an uncharacteristic way like Jesus did challenges our students to open up their eyes to the realities that surround them. When we teach with shock value that requires a wise response, we give them the first sprout of understanding that will eventually lead to full-grown happiness. This is a gift that they will surely accept, but only when their soul has been rocked enough to respond passionately.”
To apply this lesson, I will get the kids out of their seats and sing a prayer, or have them demonstrate Reconciliation rather than just talking about it or I will even teach the Bible story using large movements or a loud voice. This is a great reminder for us teachers or even parents, we need to teach our children in maybe some unorthodox ways in order to get our point across or help them to really remember the lesson.
“99 Ways to Teach Like the Master” by T.J. Burdick is a wonderful teaching guide for any leader, teacher, catechist, or parent that teaches us how to teach any scholastic or life lesson in the way that Jesus taught us. I will be using the lessons taught in this book to help me be a better mother, wife, and catechist, and I feel I will be able to better communicate in the ways my Lord and Master taught us.
Laura Hensley received a copy of this book for the purposes of review.