The Wisdom of Teachers
Yesterday I was blessed with the opportunity to meet with the Children’s Sunday School Teaching team at my church. We gathered to set our schedule, to touch base about how everything was going, and to share our success stories and powerful teaching moments. These women humbled and inspired me. They came with thoughtful hearts, open minds, and strong voices.
Because Sunday School is once a week, for a short amount of time, filled with fun activities, creative story telling, and exciting learning, it can be easy for forget how important Sunday School really is to the development, inclusion, and faith formation of the Body of Christ. Today, I was reminded of the passion, heart, vulnerability and wisdom that it takes to take this responsibility and privilege head on as a teacher.
Around the table sat six women, sharing wisdom and desiring to grow. We sat around the table contemplating our role as teachers and where we find God in our children and lessons. This powerful round table discussion was filled with hope, joy and the movement of the Holy Spirit within our hearts and words. Below are a few lessons from these wise teachers as I move forward in the classrooms to which I serve.
Lesson 1: We are co-learners. The teachers I learned from taught me that the children they teach are co-creators in the classroom. Even thought the teacher sets the lesson and comes prepared to teach, the children share in how the lesson transpires… they share their wisdom and experience and challenge and inspire the teachers with their faith sharing.
Lesson 2: Teaching happens outside of the classroom. An exciting new idea came out of our conversations yesterday morning. One teacher suggested that we connect with families and children by emailing them weekly to connect families with upcoming lessons and in relationship with the teachers that would be teaching that week. I am excited for this opportunity because I think it will help for families to get geared up for Sunday School and be in closer relationship with their teachers. I am also excited because I believe that these personal messages from their teachers will inspire families to talk about Sunday School, the bible and their faith together. By introducing the theme and connect with children, these teachers are encouraging faith sharing and learning outside the classroom.
Lesson 3: Teaching makes us vulnerable. When we plan and care about our children and lessons, we share who we are as faithful Christians. Because the teachers I serve with write their own lesson plans, set their own classrooms and welcome the children each week they serve, the classroom truly is an extention of who they are: their interests, their wisdom, their faith. When teachers stick our necks out and we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, true connection with other human beings and with God is possible.
Lesson 4: Teaching inspires understanding. In a conversation focused around the need for patience, one teacher humbled me. Speaking from her heart, this teacher encouraged all of us at the table to reframe the way we work through the more difficult moments of teaching. She noted that to be “patient” implies that the task at hand is one that we dread or one that requires strife. Instead, she witnessed, we should work to understand our students and co-learners, rather than be patient with them. We are called, as teachers, to do the work and take the time to understand the students, situations, and challenging aspects of teaching rather than be patient and work to power through them.
Lesson 5: God meets us and our classroom when we teach. The good news about teaching is that when we choose to be co-learners, understand learning as something that happens all the time, build relationship with our students, and share the good news of our faith, God meets us and works through us. God feeds us as teachers and moves in us and those we teach as we, as a learning community, journey in our faith and grow together.
From their wisdom and reasoning for teaching to their stories of empowerment, humble lessons and love for our children, the teachers at the church I serve are a living example of what Christian Education is about: growing in faith, love and community with God and those we serve. I am blessed, humbled and filled with joy when I think about the ways in which teachers share their wisdom and love.