|Synopsis: How would you describe a good teacher? Is it someone who invests vast amounts of time in preparation? Or is it the person who spends limitless time with their students? Or maybe the one who blocks away endless hours for private prayer and devotion? Though each is an important dimension, they do not singularly profile a good teacher. Like much of life, I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle, a combination of all three.|
Read the Conditions of Use Statement.
|What Makes A
(Leader's Worksheet Included!)
...Pete Preparation loved to study the upcoming lesson for his older adult class. After work each evening he would spend hours studying the intricacies of the passage, searching out little-known facts and tidbits about the background, culture, and history of the verses in view. Without a doubt, Pete informed his class about good things. But, in time, attendance began to dwindle. Consequently, Pete began to prepare even more, thinking to himself, “If I just give my class more information it will grow.”
...Frank Fellowship had an interesting class dynamic. Almost everyone in the church knew Frank’s class always offered the best doughnuts and coffee. To Frank, getting the members of his class to develop close friends and intimate relationships within the class was the key to growth. Expending lots of energy getting to know his people, Frank was the consummate “people-person.” In fact, he was often embarrassed when he had only 15 minutes to teach because so much time was spent in fellowship. While the class activities were well-attended and his class was getting larger, there wasn’t much difference between his class and the local bridge club.
...Patricia Piety was known as the serious one among the crew of teachers. Always starting on time, she and her students shared prayer requests and needs, often praying for up to 40-50 minutes. The seven in her class loved the format, but it frustrated Patricia that more people weren’t interested in praying. “Why aren’t more people attending this all-important class/prayer time?” she wondered. Spending little time preparing her lesson and even less time getting to know her students, Patricia’s class rarely grew or smiled.
While each character demonstrates a necessary ingredient to being an effective teacher, each lacks one thing: Balance. Learning to flow with all three, knowing when and how to adjust between them, is crucial. There is no doubt — It is in the mix of teaching, fellowship, and piety that we are most likely to experience the thrill of developing our students properly, our highest goal as instructors.
And now a worksheet to use with your leaders:
Opening: Have your leaders read through “What Makes a Good Teacher” (enclosed). Or perhaps send it to them in advance, asking them to read through it in preparation for the meeting. In either case, emphasize from the beginning that each character (or teaching trait) is good and beneficial. One is not necessarily better than the other; it’s the extreme of each we’re trying to avoid. This will help your teachers in evaluating themselves, giving them the freedom to be completely honest regarding where they are and where they need to improve.
Body: Using the information within this guide, explain the chart below, providing copies of the Action Spectrum for your teachers. Say something like this:
“Whether your teaching strength is information, fellowship, or piety, the end result should be ACTION; we want our teens to “work out” what they are learning. But how does each trait lead to this goal? Here’s how:
Information leads to ACTION through specific application. Because informers tend to dish out facts, it is imperative that application be included. This is usually difficult for those whose main concern is content. However, by asking “how” throughout the week as they study, an informer can effectively meet the challenge of application.
Fellowship leads to ACTION through deep relationships. These “sanguines” often have relationships, but they typically exist for inward gratification and renewal, not outward impact. Take full advantage of the relationships in your class by suggesting those who are connected in a class relationship use their influence to reach out to someone who may not be as connected. In other words, ask the “who” question. Encourage the friends in your class to be friends for reasons that exist outside their own relationship (i.e., a stranger).
Piety leads to ACTION through disciplined obedience. Often, these “Patricia’s” are intensely spiritual alone but strangely invisible in their service to and with others. These types should ask “what” and look for ways their personal and spiritual habits could be exhibited in visible, biblical acts that exemplify what is really going on inside them.
With that in mind, which character/teaching trait most resembles your strength? As this style of teacher, are you leading your students toward ACTION? To help you evaluate yourself, identify yourself as either an I, an F, or a P. Then, using the appropriate Action Spectrum, mark where you think you currently stand in the overall goal of leading others toward ACTION.”
Closing: Once they’ve marked their Action Spectrum, pass out a worksheet entitled “Improvement Tips” which you’ve prepared in advance. Leave space on this worksheet for their comments as well as yours, plus a place for their name. Ask them to write their thoughts or ideas on how to get from where they are to the place where their kids are action-oriented as a result of their teaching. Consider asking some to share their evaluations corporately, allowing feedback from others. When each is finished with their evaluations and comments, have them turn their worksheets in to you. During the next week, respond with encouraging words and thoughts, giving specific, concrete, and personalized tips for each teacher. Mail your comments to them, also attaching a letter of appreciation for their ministry.
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