Monday, October 03, 2011

The Joys of Teaching Sunday School

I am a Sunday School Teacher and I have been most of my adult life.  In fact, I first taught Sunday School when I was still in high school.  I love it!  Are any of you Sunday School Teachers?

When we moved to Southern New Mexico I was asked in the Spring to finish out the year for another teacher.  Her's was the 2nd and 3rd grade class, with most of the kids being in 2nd grade.  When September rolled around I said I would teach whichever class the other teachers did not choose as it didn't really matter to me.  Well, I was again assigned the 2nd and 3rd graders so I had most of the same children I'd taught in the Spring.  That was great as I'd enjoyed them a lot.

When the next September rolled around, and every year therafter I always asked the current Sunday School Superintendent to assign me to whatever class the other teachers did not choose.  Would you believe that EVERY year I was assigned to that original group of 2nd graders as they advanced through the grades?  Eventually I was teaching the high school class!  I'd been with the same core group of children for 9 years!  I'd watched them from the time they were growing into their permanent teeth through the time they were discussing college and future careers.  They became so very precious to me!  I cherish my memories of them. 

I remember Nathan, who in 2nd grade kept interrupting me as he always had such interesting things he needed to say RIGHT NOW.  He'd quickly follow with, "Sorry, Mrs. S..., sorry Mrs. S..." as he hung his head.  He was so cute!  I remember Elena, a beautiful little girl with the great laugh.  She often asked me deep theological questions, well beyond her years.  And then there was Nick, the quiet one who gave me a sweet smile during church before he quickly looked downward.

As these kids were becoming teenagers I had asked the church council to allow me to teach a sex education class from a Christian perspective.  As I was preparing to do that, Nathan's Mom caught me before church one day and asked me to hurry to get that class going.  She said it was an emergency; Nathan had a girlfriend!

When my husband accepted a call to Wyoming it was time to say good-byes.  I cried as I left those kids. Good grief, I am tearing up even now as I write this and it has been more than 7 years since we parted! 

Well, Elena, Nick, Nathan and the others are adults now.  Most are married and well into their careers.  Their lives have had some bumps, just like all of us, but I know they are beloved children of God and a gift to those lucky enough to be part of their lives.  I am so very grateful for the years I had with them and count them among my most satisfying blessings!

For the last several years in Wyoming I have been teaching a 5th and 6th grade class.  I love that age group!  This year, however, I was asked to teach the little bitty kids, ages 3-5.  That would  not have been my first choice but I was ok with the idea.  I have a teaching partner so we are alternating months, allowing us each to be part of the adult class when we aren't teaching. 

With  my first teaching month being October, yesterday was my first day with those little people.  I had 7 little kids arrive.  I knew all but one of them from church but most didn't really know me.  They were apprehensive for about 5 minutes and then they were over that!  They are fun little characters who like to learn and do crafts.  As they left after class most of them came and surprised me with a hug.   They were so sweet!

With this class I inherited a large binder with lessons done by the ABC's.  For each lesson the previous teacher had already compiled a large choice of activities she'd found on the internet.  She's already done most of the work so it is easy!  We were on the letter "D" and our lesson was on Daniel.  We talked about how God protected Daniel from the lions.  We talked about prayer and we all got down on our knees and prayed that way.  We also talked about how sometimes we pray in our own heads and so no one can ever stop us when we want to pray.

Our craft and snack were one, a lion's face...

I double checked with each parent to be sure I knew of any allergies. I gave each child a paper plate, a caramel rice cake, a plastic knife with a glob of peanut butter, crunchy chow mein noodles, mini marshmallows and a roll of Smarties.  I think string red licorice would be a better choice for the mouth but this worked.  

I'd like to hear from other SS teachers.  What works for you?  Any fun stories to tell?  Any particularly cool ideas you want to share?  Let me know!

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