Today was my first day of teaching Sunday Bible School, for children. This is a huge honor, and responsibility. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into today. I spent a lot of time imagining how things would go, what it was going to be like. It was nothing like I imagined.
I was a little bit awkward. I wasn’t nearly as prepared as I thought that I was. The discussion and interactions with the kids didn’t flow as smoothly as I had hoped. I wasn’t totally prepared for how many of the kids don’t willingly participate. The other thing that surprised me was the two kids who spent the whole hour goofing off. Both go to the Christian Day School that our church provides. I thought they would be very attentive and interactive. Instead they ended up causing the most disruption and distraction.
I knew it would be different than teaching adults; I was most surprised by the similarities. First of all, like speaking to a group of adults, there was two students who thought they already knew everything about the material we covered today, so they were a constant distraction for the rest of the class. Sound familiar? Ever been to a conference or seminar with the people who know more than the speaker, so they talk throughout the whole thing? They proudly display their arrogance and lack of respect for the people around them by doing whatever they can to capture the attention of as many people as they can.
Secondly, there was only a few students who participated and actually showed interest in the lesson. They asked questions, volunteered to read, and generally participated in the class. This is another parallel to speaking to adults. Most of the time when speaking to a group of adults, there is a small percentage of the group that doesn’t pay attention and they are a constant distraction for the others. The attention span of the average adult isn’t much longer than that of the average 10-year-old. One of the most annoying things, when public speaking, is to have people in the audience who are constantly checking text messages, e-mails, or whatever their particular addiction is. Technology addiction is a serious problem in the Information Age. I find it sad that many people can’t go more than 30 seconds without checking their phone.
There are really two lessons that I learned today: 1. I need to schedule more time throughout the week to prepare and think through the following week’s lesson. I need to know, specifically, how I’m going to teach the lesson each week. I need to remember that I’m teaching fourth and fifth graders, not adults. 2. I need to do a better job of involving the whole class. I need to teach in a way that’s more interactive. Kids don’t want me to stand at the front of the room and talk at them for an hour. They get that all week long. They want to have fun while learning, and that is up to me. It’s my job to make learning about God fun for them.