Home > Uncategorized > Consider the Stem Cell: A Biology Instructor’s Reflection on Calling

There are more than biological principles inside cells.

When I lecture, I can’t help but feel like I’m a pastor giving a sermon. I stand behind a podium, lecture notes and book at hand, with PowerPoint slides behind me and a congregation of students in front of me. While I don’t have a wireless microphone, I’ve certainly considered getting one for the sake of the students in the back of the classroom when the air vents get too loud or for recording my lectures and posting the audio online. As for the clerical stole and vestments, I wear my share of sweaters and shawls or when necessary, the lab coat.

The sermons I teach are biological rather than hermeneutical in nature, but I find many similarities between the sanctuary and the classroom. However, one difference is that in the classroom I am the instructor, while at church, I become the instructed. Like my students, I find myself sitting, albeit in a pew. I look and listen, but even on my best days, I find that I battle distractions in my own mind. I find myself coming up with an action plan for tackling the remaining work I have to do when I get home or, if I missed breakfast, thinking about the post-service coffee and snacks in the lobby and worrying about what I’ll have for dinner. When I consider this, I realize that I am not far removed from the student experience. Perhaps, none of us really are.

Jesus invited his students (the disciples) to pause when they were anxious, asking them to consider the things around them. Each year with nervous excitement and anticipation, I await the beginning of a new academic year. Amidst finalizing my syllabi and revising my lecture slides, I, like the disciples, pause and listen to the words of Jesus, accepting his invitation to consider the things around me. …

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