Sunday, September 14, 2008


Do you remember the post just a few weeks ago where I was about to cry and even ask to be released from my calling as Sunday school for the 12- and 13-year olds? Well, I do! Friday we had an Enrichment meeting and it was nice. It was just a dinner and game night. During the dinner, a sister came up to me and handed me a note, saying that she wrote it a while ago, but didn't get around to sending it. I opened it and read it. She was thanking me for making her son feel welcome in the Sunday school class and that he's really enjoyed going. She has been so grateful since he was reluctant to attend our ward, but has learned a lot in class.

I hope it doesn't sound like I am bragging. I know I still have a LOT to improve on and learn, but it is so nice to hear positive things. I just hope it is true that I have done something to help this young man feel welcome and am grateful to the mother for taking the time to write the note. It's the first time in the 3 years that I've been doing this that I got a thank you note.

I've been trying to find ways to help my students participate. They don't like to do most activities that I try to get them to do, like skits or presenting information to each other. Even when they read a scripture, usually the one reading will read it fast and it will be hard to understand even if you are listening, but the others don't listen. That includes when I give them a question ahead of time to find the answer to in the scripture. So, I came up with just a few things I'll be trying. I bought a spiral notebook for each student and let the decorate them with stickers today. Every week we'll have an assignment to do in the notebook. Sometimes it will be having them write their own thoughts on a certain subject or with a specific question and sometimes it will be other things. I also handed a calendar of the new Spiritual Thought assignments. Each week one of them will get a turn to give a spiritual thought on a topic of their choice. I told them it could be a scripture, a quote, a personal story, a poem, or a summary of something they read in the New Era or somewhere else.
I have been focusing on one or two important topics to talk about and have activities on instead of trying to get through the whole subject matter for the lesson. The manual we use is the same one that the adults use and the needs are not the same. I try to remember this quote when planning my lesson:
“Your highest priority is not to get through all the material if that means that it cannot be properly absorbed. Do what you are able to do with understanding. . . . If a key principle is understood, internalized, and made part of the students’ guidebooks for life, then the most important objective has been accomplished.”

Elder Richard G. Scott, “To Understand and Live Truth,” 2–3.

It is easy for me to just tell them step by step what happened in the chapters we are studying, but it is boring for them and for me and the students don't really learn that way. I know they need to discover the truths and the Spirit in the scriptures for themselves and I only have them for less than an hour once a week to help them discover such an important thing.

“An answer we discover or obtain through the exercise of faith, typically, is retained for a lifetime. The most important learnings of life are caught—not taught.”

David A. Bednar, “Seek Learning by Faith,” Church Educational System broadcast, February 3, 2006, 5; emphasis added.

It's easy to plan the lessons based on those truths, but it's not always so easy for me while I am teaching and no one is listening to me or the Spirit. I will just keep praying and continue to know that if I do my part, I will be blessed.

For any gospel teachers reading this (which does include mothers and MANY other roles), here are a couple of wonderful treasures to read.

Gospel Teaching by Elder Dallin H. Oaks

The Power of Student Discovery and Sharing by John Hilton III

1 comment:

  1. I bet that thank you note sure lifted your spirits and I'm sure she meant it.


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