Extremely worried about Sunday School

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Flavio, Jan 28, 2016.

  1. #1 Flavio, Jan 28, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2016
    I'm not a conventional teacher and many people don't agree with my methods.

    My #1 concern is to create a good atmosphere in the classroom. This means that games and fun are essential.

    The kids had a lot of fun today, we played UNO but the game also featured questions on the Bible - so it wasn't a waste of time.

    30 min. of hard work + 30 min. of games (incl. biblical questions): this seems like a balanced lesson plan to me, what do you think?

    And there's another problem: one of my students is really tough and I have to change my lesson plan whenever he shows up (i.e. more games and less work). Believe me, he really is that bad.

    After the lesson, I was approached by the mother of one of the kids. She wasn't rude and she didn't make any complaints, she just asked me about her son's behaviour but I had the clear feeling that I was being analysed. She asked me for my phone number, so that she could contact me whenever her son had to skip classes. Is this a good sign or a bad one? Maybe I'm being paranoid but I'm afraid she's going to move her son to another class because of my methods. :( :( :( :(

    Please pray for my lessons, I really want this to work!
  2. How old are these kids? Why would you play UNO?
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  3. Entertaining kids leads to entertaining adults... stick to the word of God and let them ask questions about what was discussed and talk about it. Let the Holy Spirit lead and you won't have to worry about anything.
    SueJLove and Major say Amen and like this.
  4. #4 Roads, Jan 29, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
    As a teacher, I would say, wear being unconventional like a badge of honor.
    But if you're going that route, you should probably get some "deal with it" sunglasses.


    While I agree with Abdicate's suggestion that it's not your job to be an entertainer, I also think the situation's a bit different with kids. In Sunday School, some of them (maybe lots of them) are probably there because of their parents' faith... or at least, it's probably not best to assume that they're there because they chose to be there. Building rapport with kids probably involves having fun with them, and building good relationships with them helps build trust to have more authentic, meaningful conversations around your teaching. You're not just providing information, you're guiding kids in how to process that information and make decisions about it, so they have to trust you. It's not just a good environment you're building; it's a good relationship. If a teacher uses fun to build a relationship with young people, why would anyone be upset about that? That's how it's done, son.

    That being said, once the relationships are good, the amount of fun could probably stand to go down a bit. But that depends on the group, too. Like, maybe you have a group that is only there because their parents are making them be there. That group may just sit there, quiet and angry for an hour while you talk at them, and they'll learn nothing. That same group may be quite happy to play thirty minutes of games, and happily engage in learning for 30 minutes. Having them engage willingly for thirty minutes is WAY better than having them sit there hating every second of it for an hour. Sometimes, that's just the group you have.

    Another note on fun: you can make engaging learning activities that are fun. I use UNO in my classroom for learning and discussion. All you do is assign each colour to a practice activity or discussion topic. If anyone wants to use a card where they can change the colour, they also have to do that colour's activity. So, say, red is "say this week's memory verse," blue is, "talk about a time you felt close to God," green is "what's one thing you learned today," whatever. You can keep it basic or go really deep and honest, depending on the group relationships. This method is NOT wasting time. It's significantly more effective for remembering something than hearing information:


    If students are teaching each other what they learned, they're able to remember the information far better, and engage with the information in a more meaningful way.

    But the real learning is in doing... and we would be insane to think what they learn in sunday school is better learning than doing something about it in real life. The better you know the kids, the better you can help them find ways to apply their Biblical knowledge to what they do in their life. Building relationships is not wasting time, and don't let anyone tell you it is.

    And parents? Whatever a parent says to you, my advice is to memorize this phrase: "Take it the best way." I'd assume that she just wants to know about her kid's behavior, and that's it. And if the kid gets moved to another class and no one communicates why to you, "Take it the best way," there was another class that was a better fit, and that's fine, you've got the group God wants you to have. No big deal. If people don't communicate what they really want to say, don't worry about it. It will just eat you up, and you'll never figure it out for sure. Just do the best you can and "Take it the best way."

    Big Moose, Cturtle, Major and 2 others say Amen and like this.
  5. :) :) :)

    Thank you so much!

    Because most people have no idea how hard our work really is and believe that games and fun are completely useless and a waste of time.

    You are absolutely right.

    Believe me, none of those kids wants to be there. And their parents aren't believers, either. Their kids are there for one reason and one reason alone: tradition. We're a Christian country (Portugal) and sending kids to Sunday School is still an obligation here.

    And yes, you're right, the amount of fun should probably go down a bit. The problem is whenever that tough kid shows up, I have to do more fun and less hard work. As you know, one bad kid is enough to ruin a good class and he really is that bad.

    I don't get this, could you be a bit more specific? Do you actually play the game in class? Depending on the number of players, a game of UNO can last up to 30 minutes, how do you manage the time?

    Yesterday, the game lasted 30 minutes but I used the 'UNO Challenges' version. But instead of those silly challenges, I used questions on the Bible.

    I couldn't agree more! The problem is the amount of things you can do in a closed room is extremely limited.

    Thank you again, your post was so helpful. Let's keep in touch.
  6. The cone of learning is brilliant!
    Cturtle likes this.
  7. EXCELLENT Advice and I would encourage anyone teaching to give this post a lot of attention.
    KingJ, Flavio and Cturtle says Amen and like this.
  8. #8 Flavio, Feb 4, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
    Today's lesson was great but the kid I mentioned on my OP didn't show up. :(

    May God help me, I really hope his mother didn't transfer him.

    For the first time ever, I have no idea what to do next. Today we talked about the Jubilee of Mercy 2016 (a nice way to introduce the subject of mercy and forgiveness); we saw clips of Dreamworks' Joseph, real footage of a mother forgiving her son's murderer and Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ, did an exercise on a prayer about mercy and the kids also painted carnival masks with words related to Jesus.

    Now, I don't know what to do next thursday. Any special date or events happening next week?

    Please help me, may God bless you all.
  9. Hello and I didn't realise your a teacher, that's just great. My uncle is an Evangelist and a Preacher and faces some tough challenges along the way as he teaches in one of our local high schools so I kind of get where you're at. If I could offer my advice I'd say to keep things simple in your mind and follow the leading of God. It might sound like usual advice but I have to say I believe your in such a great position to be used by God and He will lay on your heart the best routes forward. I think your teaching methods are spot on and I love the passion you obviously have for these kids but i hope you don't worry about losing some, not everyone liked Jesus or believed His Message and He was the best teacher on the planet. You can't win them all so don't worry if you can't, seeds will have been sown in ways you can't imagine. Well done for what you do, the kids have probably seen more Jesus through you than they ever will....
    Flavio likes this.
  10. How old are these kids roughly Flavio?
    Flavio likes this.
  11. 12 y.o.

    Any Android apps on the subject of Christianity that you'd like to recommend?

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