There’s a kind of joy that comes from following God’s call over a sustained period of time. In this series of A Legacy of Teaching Excellence clips, Professor Ed Westbrook looks back at his early days of teaching and how his approaches evolved over time. He concludes by stating without a doubt that coming to teach at Vanguard was one of the best decisions he has ever made.
Early Teaching Experience
Ed started teaching at Vanguard in 1985. He is still in touch with all of those students, except for one. It was just the beginning of the kinds of rich relationships he would build with students over decades. In this clip, he talks about the origins of why he went into teaching. His friend at Stanford recommended spending two years before making a decision about if this was the right path for him. He is thankful for the middle school experience he had that he got to bring with him to Vanguard.
Comparing the Early Days to When His Teaching Matured
When Ed was teaching his first classes, he would have 30-40 students in a class. When students first came into the room, he gave them a quiz right away. He made the assumption that they wouldn’t be prepared, so he had the perception that he needed to somehow coerce them into it. He found that if he would make it more relevant to them and interesting that the accountability would be an easier part of his classes to design. Ed also found that giving quizzes at the end of class and allowing them to work in a group facilitated learning more effectively and enjoyably.
Love for Vanguard Students
If you know Ed, you will know how much he loves Vanguard students. His students helped Ed see the kind of tangible impact he was making in their lives. He was able to leverage his network of people to help students get internships and jobs. The students at Vanguard are hard working and value education. Ed finds them to have a high emotional intelligence and show such care for one another.
Teaching as a Calling
Ed stresses that teaching at a Christian institution should be a calling. It should be something we love. We should be asking ourselves if this is a way we can minister to students and if we have a sense of calling about being at Vanguard.
Integrating Faith and Learning
When Ed started as an adjunct, he was more traditional in his approach to integrating faith in learning. He opened each of his classes in prayer and found that to be a way to respect the tradition Vanguard was founded on. Ed always prayed before exams, asking God to help students remember the things they studied – and maybe even some thing that they didn’t. As an attorney by trade, Ed always stressed the importance of being ethical in how people conduct themselves in that role. This was part of helping students integrate their faith in their professional work.
The Best Decision
As Ed considers all his years at Vanguard, he still believes it was the right place for him to be. He considers his decision to come and teach at Vanguard as one of the best ones he has ever made.