Tips for the First-Time Teacher – Part 5
20. If you teach a children’s or youth (teenager) class, consider following an organized curriculum—that is, if your pastor or Sunday School Director hasn’t already prescribed one.
One of the several benefits of teaching from a curriculum is that you typically follow an order of events, usually chronologically, or themes. Instead of jumping from one Bible account in the Old Testament to one in the New Testament, you follow a logical order of stories or subjects which the student may better understand and catalog in his memory.
Another benefit of following a curriculum is that you are at times given additional materials which may personally aid you. For example, some curriculums include cue cards, which a teacher may use and modify. (Cue cards are simply suggestions for how to organize class time.) Some curriculums also provide tips on classroom control, attention-getters, study guides relevant to the lessons, etc.
If you have been given the opportunity to choose or create your own curriculum, do remember to have all material approved by your pastor or Sunday School Director.
21. Remember names. You might possess a poor memory or one chockfull of mental post-it notes of things to do, events to remember, etc.–which may make this tip particularly challenging. Here are a few suggestions for improving your ability to recall names:
- Use it or write it down. When you meet a student for the first time or perhaps have difficulty remembering the name of that one that has sat in your class for months, simply use the name. Make a point of saying his name throughout a conversation or class period (moderately), direct an illustration or point of the lesson to him, etc. Write it down on your attendance form, on a scratch piece of paper, in the margin of your notes, etc.
- Connect it. You’ve heard of this before. Simply associate the person and his name with something else. For example, “Frank” may have shared with you the details of his camping trip during which a bear almost attacked him (FRightened = FRank). Perhaps his name sounds like an object (pEN = bEN). Or he looks like someone who has the same name (Uncle Joe = Joe in Sunday school). Maybe his physical characteristics can produce that connection (bONY = tONY). You
can make all sorts of silly mental connections; just make sure that you don’t mix up the association with the real thing.