Ask the Experts:
What does it take to be an effective teacher?
- Maintain a strong personal devotional life.
Each teacher talked about the importance of having a daily quiet time. A teacher who has been teaching for 64 years says, “Keep growing in your personal relationship with Christ through daily Bible study and prayer; this is the real power source.”
- Fall in love with your class.
All of these teachers voiced the need to show true affection and concern for class members. Spending time with members in class as well as outside of class is important. One teacher who has taught for 53 years, said it best: “Love your class members . . . warts and all, and show concern for their spiritual and temporal well-being!”
- Be a student of the Bible.
Each teacher spends adequate time for lesson preparation. Most begin studying in earnest on Sunday afternoon for next week’s lesson. This gives ample time for research and reflection. Another teacher, who has been teaching for 68 years, says: “Study the Word as if it all depends on you, and pray as if it all depends on God.
- Be practical in your teaching.
A veteran teacher of 62 years of teaching, encourages teachers “to look for current illustrations each week that will provide practical application of the truths of the lesson.” A good teacher always looks for ways to address and apply lesson truths to the current needs of members. Also, she says, “Understand the particular age group that you are teaching and discover what they need from the lesson.”
- Be innovative; vary your teaching methods.
A dedicated Bible student who has taught for 67 years, says: “Use variety in your teaching styles and methods. Never get caught in a rut and don’t forget to use visual aids. Use lots of personal experiences and encourage class participation and discussion.”
- Admit your theological limitations.
All of these teachers have had moments when they did not know the answer to a member’s question. Lack of information did not keep James from teaching. He has taught Sunday School for 62 years. James says: “Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know the answer. Tell the person that you’ll look it up and let that person know the answer next Sunday.”
- Depend on the Lord.
All of these experienced voices acknowledged their total dependence on God. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, nothing of importance would or could happen. One teacher, who taught for 65 years before her death, said, “Ask the Lord to give you all the insights that He wants you to share with the class, and He will be faithful to do it.”
- Pray for your class daily.
Mary, a dedicated teacher for more than 54 years, talked about the importance of prayer: “Pray each day for the members of your class. Pray for their mental, physical, and emotional needs. Most important, pray for their spiritual needs, and never be afraid to lead a class member to faith in Christ.”
These teachers probably will not become as famous as some of our other leaders. However, their faithfulness will earn the affirmation from Jesus: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”
Reposted from The Teacher’s Treasure Chest