Keep Calm and Shoot Straight

A Blog for Teachers
by Mary Jean Powers

Keep Calm and Shoot Straight

Jun 29, 2020

“Even as the archer loves the arrow that flies, so too he loves the bow that remains constant in his hands.”
Nigerian Proverb


Shoot StraightYarah is a Hebrew word for “to teach.” It literally means to shoot … as an arrow. Here’s the process: a teacher carefully sets up the target – the lesson – for the class or student, then “nocks” the arrow, i.e. fits the bow string into the notch at the end of the arrow. Drawing the bow, the teacher then firmly anchors the student, readying him/her to learn. Steady. Keep Calm. Aim precisely at the target, clearly visible. Release the student straight for the target … and then follow through. This is teaching.

Little did I know that my teaching skills were evolving decades ago when I learned to shoot a compound bow. Those two little words Keep Calm apply to mastering any skill. Relax. Get your shoulders out of your ears. Take a deep breath. Prepare for the long haul. Then you can release the bow; then you can Enjoy Teaching!

Sure, there’s technique involved. Teachers must become well acquainted with every step of the process: the bow (subject matter and method), the arrow (student), and the target (goal). To become expert marksmen, we must get used to asking the question, “How?” and learn the smallest of details. Watch. Listen. Rehearse. “Can you show me that again?” Try repeatedly. Read. Study. Learn as much as possible from the best you can find! Fine tune your strengths and chip away at your weaknesses. But know this: there are no short cuts to becoming a great teacher!

Develop your craft so you can Shoot Straight. Study your students; respect their individuality. Discover how they learn best and set them up for success! Learn what draws them out. Facilitate activities that will cause them to ask questions. Create memories. Make them laugh! Provide variety. It’s hard work – and it’s worth it! You won’t reach every student with every lesson, but you can engage them all with your passion and your skill.

I know of no higher joy, no greater honor nor deeper fulfillment than to teach. This blog is an invitation. Will you join me in the priceless process of learning to teach well?

Who was “the” teacher – the one who knew just how to draw you out and shoot you precisely at the target? How have you incorporated their style, skill and passion into your teaching?

About Keep Calm and Shoot Straight

I am a teacher. You, too? I hope you love the profession as much as I do! I was 16 when I got my first teaching gigs – I had 20 private piano students and a Sunday School class of 4 and 5-year olds! At that point in my “career,” my definition of teacher was very limited. But now – after 45+ years of experience – I have come to realize that teacher can mean many different things. I’d like to share some of those insights with you! My posts will range from quotes to prayers, from cartoons to words of wisdom. Much of my teaching experience has been international, so you'll get to watch some video stories from around the globe. Jesus is the best Teacher I know, so I will be including Him in this blog, as well. I hope my thoughts and my story will encourage, provoke, and inspire you to become the teacher you’ve been created to be!

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Mary Jean Powers

Mary Jean Powers

B.A. in Christian Education
M.A. in Biblical Studies
Music teacher (band and choir director, private instruction) for 35 years
International Bible teacher for 17+ years
Certified Walk Thru the Bible instructor
Certified TESL International Instructor
CEU Provider for ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International)
Certified Life Coach and Chaplain

Who am I? A teacher coming alongside teachers!