Teaching to Inspire

     Terry Gurno is a personal coach, author (Leading is an Art), motivational speaker and all around great guy. Each day, Terry sends out a Daily Mindset motivational or inspirational quote.[1] The quote from Sunday, September 17th said,

The mediocre teacher tells.

The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.
~ William Arthur Ward

     I wasn’t acquainted with William Arthur Ward, and a quick Google search assured me I probably would have liked the guy. I learned he is one of America’s most quoted writers of inspirational maxims.

     Ward’s words concerning teachers resonated. First, I recognize I tend to fall into the mediocre teacher category. I am inclined to be a teller! I’m aware of this trait, and have been working to correct the tendency to tell. I’m trying instead to become a better listener, question-asker, as well as waiting to be asked rather than offering unsolicited advice or information.

     My husband, Ron, is an explainer. When one of our daughters was a teenager, she said, “Mom, I hate to ask Dad a question. All I want is a simple answer, but he has to drag out all kinds of books and explain every single detail.” I understood what she was saying. When trying to master computer skills, I finally told Ron, “Honey, I don’t care how the computer works or why it does what it does. P-L-E-A-S-E, just show me which keys to push!

     I don’t imagine there’s anything inherently wrong with being a teacher who tells or explains, but…

     Lovely qualities of authenticity and integrity shine from a teacher who demonstrates. My deep hope is that sometimes I fall into the superior teacher category when it comes to demonstrating Christ-like attributes such as kindness, graciousness, honesty, wisdom, compassion, and above all else, love.

     Then, there’s a teacher who inspires—now, that person is a priceless treasure!

     Last Sunday when I received this quote in my email inbox, I started thinking about teachers in my life who’ve inspired me.

     My first-grade teacher who lead me through the “Dick and Jane” primers, inspiring a love for words and learning.

     The Sunday School teacher, who with the use of only words to explain and flannelgraph figures to illustrate, inspired me to love God, Jesus and the Bible.

     My high school friend’s father who taught journalism studies at the local college who inspired me with affirming words when I was the editor of our high school newspaper.

     The college professor who inspired me to embrace my probing, non-linear thinking process, which he described as a “fertile mind.” Until then, I’d believed it was simply a nuisance.

     The pastor’s wife who inspired me to want to use my words like the woman described in Proverbs 31:26:  She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. (Love that old King James flowery language!)

     My mother who inspired me to cherish home, my husband and my children.

     My father who inspired me to work hard and to always return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas regardless of where the fuel gage registered when I picked it up!

     Today, Monday, September 18th, as I’m writing this post, it is raining—the first day in 80 our town has experienced rainfall. Instead of walking outside, I walked on the indoor track at the gym this morning. As I trod round and round the rather tedious route, I was still thinking about the quote and asked myself this question:

If I were a great teacher who inspires, what inspiration would I like to give my students?

I would inspire him or her to never stop:




I would inspire him or her to lean into, rather than avoid, excuse or succumb to:




I would inspire him or her to never stop the quest for:



               ways to love.

     Above all else, I would seek to inspire my student to grasp the magnitude of Imago Dei—the belief each person on the face of this earth is created in the image of God. I would seek to inspire my student to consider the intrinsic and immense value the Creator ascribes to everyone; and to recognize each is designed to make a unique contribution within the world in which God has placed him/her.

     What would you seek to inspire in your student? I’d love to hear.

In closing, Listening on the Journey… reader friend, I pray today you’ll be blessed with a touch of inspiration…

Sue Reeve

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  1. To receive Terry’s daily Mindset quote, visit http://terrygurno.com/personal-growth-plan/


1 thought on “Teaching to Inspire

  1. Just got around to reading this today. Life sometimes interferes with living. LOL. This blog inspired me to dig deep. How? To think of all the people in my life who have inspired me. Not necessarily those who had the title of teacher but those I have known, through the years. You, being one of many. Loves, S

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