Monday, May 18, 2009

Church Notes

As I may have mentioned, Child and I teach the six-year-olds in Sunday School (Primary). Actually, due to a temporary teacher shortage, we actually teach several five- and maybe even a four-year-old. Anyway, a couple open notes to the Sunday School leadership:

1. Mother's Day should not be celebrated by handing each kid a bag of candy and two long, sharp skewers and telling them to make two "candy flowers" for their mothers. The candy will not survive an hour and a half of Sunday School in the hands of small children, and the skewers will be used to impale everything but the candy. The teachers will curse (religiously, of course) your name as they spend the next hour and a half trying to keep the candy out of their children's' mouths and the skewers out of their own skin. It's just a bad idea all around.

2. Music leader: if you don't know the second and third and fourth verse to a song without reaching for your songbook, it's a good bet none of the teachers do either, much less any of their six-year-old children. Either stick with the first, familiar verse, or hold up a poster with the words (or better yet: pictures) on it.

3. Other teachers: turning around and shushing one of our kids or telling them to get back into their seat is not helping. I've already done that several thousand times in the past hour, and expect to do it another thousand times before Sunday School is over. It's like you're second in line at a red light, and honking your horn the split second the light turns green. Don't worry, give me a moment and I'll get that kid back in their seat and shushed myself. Oh, and P.S., one of your own kids is halfway across the room climbing a stack of chairs.

Despite how this post may sounds, it's actually been somewhat fun serving in Primary. The kids are wild and noisy and impatient and bored and energetic and it's like playing Whack-A-Mole to keep them in their seats, but they can also be funny and cute and it's good experience for our own imminent kid. Who will be perfect. And who will never get out of his seat. And who will not skewer their teacher like a rack of lamb.


Anonymous said...

So how many kids total are you in charge of? I can relate since I teach about 6 5-year olds each week, without a team teacher.

I totally agree with your #2. When only a quarter of the junior primary can reliably read, pictures are DEFINITELY the way to go in both sharing time and music time.

Although I disagree with your #3. Sometimes, I'm not in reach of the kid to tell them to sit down, so I welcome the help of someone who's closer to the kid.

Do you have any reward systems set up for your class? One thing I've seen that works is to set up a chart where the class as a whole earns stickers, and when the chart is filled up they earn a treat. You could just reserve it for your lesson time, or have one sticker for sharing time and one sticker for class time. Might give the bored kids some motivation to stay in their chairs.

The Writer said...

We have anywhere between five and seven kids, but yes, Child and I are lucky to both be teachers. :)

Because of how we space ourselves when sitting in group Sharing Time, each kid is only one or two people away. My problem in #3 was more the fact that one of our kids repeatedly pops out of his seat every few seconds, and a teacher in front of us somehow thought that HER telling the kid to sit down would work where MY telling the kid several thousand times didn't. Oh well.

We definitely need to come up with some techniques for keeping the kids more interested. Do you really think six-year-olds have the attention span for a reward chart that spans several weeks? I don't know, I really don't have much experience with that age group.

prin said...


As soon as adults decide they don't have to be in complete control all the time, kids and animals are a lot more fun. :D

Charity said...

Dave and I are in Nursery so we can sympathize. Our 8 kids have 30 second attention spans and are exhausting to care for for 2 long hours, but in some ways it's really rewarding. Those little kids can be really cute and loving and it's cool to see that we actually make a difference for them.

Anonymous said...

My reward system is that at the beginning of class I hang 3 stars on the board. If they act up, I take one down. It's amazing how fast they settle down when I actually take one down.

Sometimes I wonder how much the thought of a treat five weeks in the future works. It seems like the week they actually earn the treats, they forget that I was bringing it. Still, the kids like to count how many spaces are left, and they love to be the ones to put the stickers on, so there's something to it.

The thing to remember is that because the primary board doesn't want kids to be singled out for their bad behavior, and because kids miss weeks for various reasons, it should be a class wide reward system instead of an individual reward system.