Teaching confuses me. I’ve been a Sunday School teacher since Marchish, so reckon I’ve taught the class six or seven times. But I’m not at all convinced I’m getting any better.
Some things are certainly improving. I started my first lesson with 5 pages of notes. I have yet to get much beyond 2, so have cut back to 2. This has yet to backfire on me, though if it does the worst case scenario is finishing class early, and who would complain about that. So I’m preparing less, if that could be considered progress.
But are my lessons better? I have a problem in that I don’t like to follow what the manual tells me to do. I nearly always find the exercises it suggests annoying, so don’t do them. Why put the class through something I wouldn’t want to do? The manual also suggests reading long sections of scripture, which I find exceedingly tedious. You know that half the class can’t hear the person reading, that nearly half of them zone out immediately, and that the person reading isn’t even paying attention to content, just pronunciation. So that’s not a worthwhile activity for any extended period. And I do my best to not reteach primary. If we’re going to go through the stages of repentance, we’re going through them in under 30 seconds. So following the manual is pretty well out of the picture.
Lest it sound that I’m disregarding the lesson itself, I don’t think I am. If the lesson is about the afterlife, as it was this week, I want to talk about it in a way that’s new to the class. My mind is twisted enough that I should have a new way to look at resurrection for ten minutes. And maybe they’ll never use my analogies but at least I’ve not hammering the same old thing into their heads. And maybe they’ll disagree with my personal take on the subject, but that can bring some debate.
My problem is that my lessons, with no template on which to build them, seem vastly different each time. And I can’t tell which type are the best. I like to bring in nonreligious quotes and stories, but these seem very hit or miss. Personal stories usually keep attention well, but more often then not I don’t have anything particularly relevant. Some weeks I feel like I use too many scriptures, other weeks too few. Games and exercises are great when the work, but they almost always seem contrived.
This week seemed good, but I’m not sure why. Two times ago there was a deafening amount of silence, and I haven’t the slightest idea what I did differently. Candy helps. That’s really all I’ve figured out.