“We can’t have unqualified teachers in the classroom—what’s the point of all the work we’re doing?” My college classmates had a point. New Zealand was shifting laws on charter schools, and one debate was whether or not teachers should be qualified. I’d gone through a year of my teaching degree already, and yup, I was several thousands of dollars in debt. All to be a trained elementary teacher—a qualification that might not even be required in some schools in the future. So yes, they had a point.

But feeling a little bit mischievous, I raised my hand.

“I went to an elementary school with unqualified teachers.”  

My mom says she stumbled into it. Trained as a elementary teacher herself, she taught middle school in New Zealand until she joined YWAM (Youth With A Mission). After several years of raising us kids on the mission field, she found herself helping out with a cooperative homeschool group on the YWAM Kona campus in Hawaii. They had a trained teacher—who left after three months. It was up to the parents to start sharing the teaching responsibilities. So they did. And they didn’t stop.

When I got to first grade, this school model seemed completely normal to me. Parents each took a different subject, usually one they were passionate about, and were required to teach four hours a week. That meant we had a professional artists who covered art and globe-trotters who brought  geography to life. Our classes never had more than twelve students, which meant it was easy to get individual help. And when our teachers taught something they weren’t “skilled” at? I learned that it was okay if I didn’t know it all.

A year through university, I wasn’t struggling academically, but with the mainstream-school culture itself. Growing up in such a different world, I had no grid for one teacher, thirty students. Our professors kept saying that effective education was all about relationship, smaller class sizes were best, and multicultural groups ideal. Which reminded me of my own elementary school with our unqualified teachers.

Trained teachers, like my mom, are gifted to serve and support many families. But parents are the first teachers, with the ultimate responsibility to serve and support their family. To reverse a popular quote—with great responsibility comes great power. And as we discovered, God also gives parents the ability to teach other children, not just their own.

“We can’t have unqualified teachers in the classroom”—they had a point, but the only problem is, I did.

I experienced, first-hand, parents who were empowered, not by education, but by God to teach me. 

That was the best qualification in the world.

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Photo: sean Kong on Unsplash

Sat, 26 May 2018 01:07:45 GMT