Perfecting…. it is the act of making something perfect. That, in a nutshell, sums up the definition of teaching! We are always striving to perfect our lesson plans, to make concepts clearer for students, and to cover everything expected to be learned in a certain grade level in a limited space of time.
Needless to say, we never reach perfection! That would be next to impossible since we are teaching students to be prepared for a future which no one has ever seen before! What a difficult task we have undertaken. Yet, I love the challenge…and that’s why I teach.
I’ve been in the educational field for five decades, so I’ve watched the proverbial pendulum swing back and forth a few times. We visit and revisit teaching concepts and learn new research and theories about how students learn. About the time we “adopt” one of these theories, new research comes out to show the flaws, and we find ourselves back to square one. I’ve watched the jargon and “buzz” words come and go: paradigm shift, multiple intelligences, objective based learning, etc. Guess what? Much of education has changed very little over the years. Oh yes, the delivery systems have gone through a big change with technological advances. However, even with the latest technology, students who are not interested in the task or skill at hand manage to find other things on which to concentrate. The results are the same: a bad grade.
If we are seeking to bring about the process of “perfecting” a skill or action, we need to know what the finished product should look like for comparison. How else will we know if we have achieved the goal? Thus, in our field we set up a rubric by which to judge the end product. Statements like, “The student shall be able to…” become the comparison chart for evaluating the degree of perfecting we have accomplished. Students and teachers can then set goals for accomplishing the next stage towards perfection of that skill.
In the educational field, this is an everyday process. Life, however, is not so easy. How can children learn to be kind, caring, and cultured if there isn’t a handy rubric for them to consult? Children are quick to adopt “monkey see, monkey do” reasoning in their lives now. But where are the “exemplary” monkeys they should be watching and mimicking? Our latest election process has shown a great void exists in our country.
My conclusion is this: the quality of being perfect is “completeness” so that nothing is wanting. It is the highest state of excellence. Jesus said, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven in perfect.” (Matt. 5) I am told that this statement in the original language means “becoming perfect.” So, it is my task to make sure that each day I am a little better than I was the day before, although I cannot reach such perfection in this life. Christ washed my sins and failures away with His death so that I may one day have eternal life with Him. He is my rubric, my example. As I follow His ways, seek His will for my life, He leads me and makes the path straight for me. How blessed I am.