Being a Sunday school teacher involves many skills. You need to know the lesson, you need to know the kids and fit all this in whatever time you are given. Sometimes the lesson ideas work very well. Other times, they don’t. In the last two weeks here is what teachers in our church did:
Last week in our three and four year old class, two children talked all the time. The teacher worked at telling the story and the kids responded to every sentence. She could hardly get a word in. So this week the teacher was ready – she prepared a lesson with movement and games with many places for her class to respond. But this week was different. Only one of the talky children was there and the one who was left is a lot quieter on his own. A new parent joined the class and sat with her child. The dynamics were completely different and none of the children talked this week. The teacher’s plans wouldn’t work with this group at all. So she had to improvise – she told the story, read a book and did quiet activities.
The 9th and 10th grade teacher had 6 teens who weren’t talking. For 15 minutes she was getting only yes and no answers. So she got out large pieces of paper and markers and asked each kid to represent sin, salvation and service on a poster. The group started talking about how to represent these concepts on paper. One student represented sin with a crumpled up paper, salvation with a white clean paper and service with an origami crane. These posters are now hanging in their classroom.
Sunday School teacher need to know when the lesson is working and when they’re not. But even knowing that isn’t enough. You need to have a clear grasp of what your objectives are for the lesson. You need to know what it is that you want your students to be able to do after the lesson. Do you, for example, want them to be able to tell where Abraham went when he left his home in Ur? Do you want them to be able to explain the outline of the Heidelberg Catechism? Having a clear idea of the point of your lesson, knowing what you want to accomplish allows to you be creative in you planning and also it lets you improvise when things don’t go as planned.