Chris Harbin–Advice for Substitute Teachers

What is your name?  Chris Harbin

What is your occupation?  Missionary, seminary professor, pastor, author, finance professional, interpreter, substitute teacher

That’s a very impressive resumé.  Okay, how old are you?  Batting at 50

And where do you live?  Davidson, NC

Do you have a website or a blog or a Twitter account or anything where people can learn more about you?

What’s the most interesting place you’ve visited?  Iguaçu Falls in Brazil, the Scarlet Ibis Sanctuary in Trinidad, and the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Mexico.  

Your favorite meal would be?  Groundnut Stew

What’s groundnut stew?  Stew made with chicken and peanuts, served over rice with diced fruit, tomato, onion, bell pepper, & dried coconut. I’m attaching the recipe from Karen’s dad’s first cousin who was a missionary to Nigeria.  

Great!  It sounds delicious.  I’ll include the recipe after this post.

Can I ask you to offer some advice for substitute teachers?  As a substitute teacher, you are in charge of the classroom for the day/hour. The students look to you as the person in charge unless you convince them otherwise. Depending on the plans set for you, you should feel free to add to the material from your personal experience. Tangents in education can be useful for helping students connect to material being presented. If you are not comfortable as the material is new to you, it is also new for the class you are teaching. There is no reason to be afraid to say, “Let’s learn together.” After all, college professors must continue learning in order to teach the subjects in which they are already experts. There is often a student in the class who readily understands the material. There is nothing to be lost by asking them to help explain material to others.

Favorite book?  “Out of Poverty” by Paul Polak.  Movie? “Dead Poets Society.”  Television show?  “The Librarians.”  

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for…..?  Completion of my discipleship cell group material series.

Family and/or pets? Married for 26 years, two kids nearly grown, three exchange students over the years.  We have a dog and a cat and we used to have chickens.

Pet peeve? Discrimination against immigrants and other minorities.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?  Woodworking.

Can you tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered?  I performed lead roles in high school plays, I led a barber shop quartet in college, I cook creatively, but don’t follow recipes closely at all, I’ve studied eleven languages and speak three of them fluently, and I’ve lived half my life outside the United States.

What languages do you speak and which ones have you studied?  I speak English, Spanish, and Portuguese.  I’ve studied German, French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Aramaic, Latin, & Ugaritic (a dead language from Ugarit, on the Mediterranean coast near Tyre).

You’ve had some amazing experiences, Chris.  Thanks for sharing with us.  Following this is the recipe for Groundnut Stew, which I’m going to have to try some time.  

Marian’s Nigerian Groundnut Stew
Ingredients:  6 pounds fryer chicken, 3 cups peanut butter, water, flour, 1 t. cayenne pepper, and a dash of black pepper/


Banana, sliced
Pineapple, chunks or tidbits
Salted, roasted Peanuts
Onion, chopped
Tomato, diced
Grapefruit, canned
Mandarin Orange, canned
Green Pepper, chopped
Coconut, grated

Collard greens, sautéed

1. Stew chicken in water with 2 cups peanut butter until cooked.  
2. Remove chicken and put aside. Measure broth so that enough flour to make a medium white sauce consistency can be added to the broth.
3. Add 1 t cayenne pepper and dash of black pepper.
4. Add 1 cup peanut butter and reserved meat. Simmer.

Serve over rice with one or two tablespoons of each topping item.  Each item should be used unless the person is allergic to something.