Monday, September 30, 2013

Leigh Bale's Sunday School Observations

I teach a Sunday school class every week.  Eight and nine year olds.  A very fun age.  They're smart, love God, and are very wiggly and chatty.  Especially this time.  Not sure what was up.  The gremlins must have been out.  I've raised two kids and am an old "war horse" at this.  First, I must say I love these children.  Every single one.  I was well-prepared, but still had to pull out my arsenal of strategies.  I used my "whisper voice" to get their attention, called on them by name, asked lots of pointed questions, moved in closer so I could look them in the eye to grasp their attention, had lots of visual aids and got them active in participating.  All of this really helped, but the chatfest never completely ended.  By the end of the lesson time, I know I got several key points across to the kids, but I came home feeling as though I'd just wrestled a flock of alligators.  Some Sundays are just exhausting like that.  I have no doubt next week will be better.  It always is.  :)

Have you ever prepared and then gone forward to give a lesson or other presentation to a group of people and come away feeling as though no one absorbed or appreciated what you had tried to do?  Maybe even your own family members.  What are some strategies you use?  How do you buoy yourself up for the next time?  I have my own arsenal of things I can do, but I'm always open to learning new things.  I'd love to hear your ideas.

Leigh Bale
Healing the Forest Ranger - Now available!
The Forest Ranger's Return - Available Feb 2014
http://www.LeighBale.com

12 comments:

  1. Leigh, I sympathize. I think we've all experienced this at one time or another. I don't have any strategies except to offer a prayer that God will open their ears and hearts enough to hear what is really important. He can accomplish what we cannot.

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  2. Leigh, it's been ages since I worked with kids that age. So I don't have any strategies. But I do know kids seems to hear a lot more than we think they do! :)

    Also, I've found asking questions engages listeners better. Getting them involved in a conversation works wonders for attention. I know that works on me when I'm in the audience. :)

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  3. Gotta correct my grammar! Kids seem to hear...

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  4. Christine, I think you're right. Prayer always helps, doesn't it? And looking back at raising my own kids, I've heard them say things later down the road and I've thought, "Wow! They really were listening after all." :)

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  5. Missy, you are so right. I think a child's brain works so fast that they can absorb stuff even when they're distracted. Thank goodness, huh?

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  6. My husband and I used to teach junior church, and I was sure none of them were listening to a thing we said, but years later one of the mothers told us that the reason her daughter gave her life to the Lord was because of our teaching in junior church. So like Missy said, they hear more than we realize.

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  7. Those kids are fortunate to have you as their teacher. They may surprise you by repeating something you said long after you've forgotten saying it.

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  8. Merrillee, you are so right. And it is such a worthwhile fight, isn't it? To keep going even when you think it isn't sinking in. I remember a teacher once telling me my son was the most difficult child she'd ever tried to teach. Well, that little boy grew up to be a tall, handsome, wonderful man. My mom has told me I was the same. Thank goodness there are good people who let the kids grow up, learn and become who they will be. The Savior sure never gave up on anyone. :)

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  9. Carolyn, I know I've sure been surprised by what kids say that I thought they'd overlooked. It does sink in, doesn't it? And frankly, I think in teaching these lessons that I've reminded myself and learned more than the kids. That's good, too. If they don't need me, I sure need them. :)

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  10. My son is eight and he's all boy, chatty, wiggly, and more.

    His best friend at church, also eight, is one of the perfect kids LOL

    I've seen my son's teacher have that wrestled-the-alligator look. I'm pretty sure my kid was the gater

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  11. I had an experience similar to Merrilee's. Not long after we were married, my husband I and taught a 7th and 8th grade Sunday school class. I never felt we'd really reached them until years later, when we ran into one of our former students at a store and he thanked us for "all we'd done for him."

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  12. I use to help teach the 3 - 6 or 7 year olds and it can be fun and tiring.
    We had a few challengers. It was interesting with two of us teaching there we both seemed to be able to be able to get through to different children. We found letting them chat a little helped. We also had a few special jobs each week like taking up the offering or being a helper and we would take turns which helped. We also had some rules which the children all helped set up like respect others etc. AT the end of the lesson we use to give a sticker but the kids knew if they misbehaved they would miss out. We often would ask the other kids if the one misbehaving deserved a sticker which was interesting. It made them more accountable.

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