Yesterday, my churchmate, E, shared with me his experience as a Sunday School teacher.
Grade 1 Class
One Sunday, E had to stand in for a Grade 1 class without prior notice because both teachers were on emergency leave. He was appalled at the news as he had no preparation, nor has he taught such a young class before and he had doubts about his patience. The stories he had heard from the other teachers about the Grade 1 class, did not make him feel any better. Anyhow, he told God, "If this is what you want me to do, I'll do it. But please help me."
As he was walked towards the class, a brilliant idea came to his mind - he would pretend to be a student, just to observe their reaction. When he arrived at the class, he knocked on the door and one of the students opened it. Inside, he saw some kids at each other, others were running around while the rest were just talking. They all stopped what they were doing and looked at E. A few kids asked him, "Who are you?" E replied, "I'm E and I'm a new Grade 1 student".
One student exclaimed, "Huh? Why are you so big sized?", while another said, "You look too old to be in Grade 1". Before E could reply, another boy asked, "Are you a stupid or a slow learner?". Finally E answered, "I have never attended Sunday School before, so they asked me to come to this class. So what happens in this class?"
One of the boys replied with enthusiasm, "When the teacher is around we pray, when the teacher is not around, we play!". So E asked them to teach him what prayers that he should know. They also shared what they enjoyed playing while the teacher was not around.
Finally, one kid pointed out, "But, you're an adult. So you must be a teacher!". Well, that was the end of the act. Nevertheless, it was great to see how the kids opened up and shared with him, despite it being his first time there. As the saying goes, "If you can't beat them, join them".
Grade 10 Class
The lesson for the day is about the Mass. E could see that his students weren't looking forward to the topic. So he thought of an idea to encourage participation - he posed this question to them, "Why do we not want to go for mass?". Suddenly, the students came alive and responded actively. Some answered, "Because it is so boring". Some said, "Because the music sucks". And the list went on and on.
Finally, E concluded, "Since there are heaps of reasons to not go for mass, then perhaps we shouldn't bother to go at all, from next week onwards." A few students happily agreed. However, there some who were uncomfortable with the idea and said that there are surely some reasons to go for mass.
So E posed this next question to them, "So now, tell me the reason why you think OTHERS go for mass". Without the personal attack towards them, the students felt comfortable enough to participate in answering. Instead of throwing the answers and expecting them to swallow it, the students came up with some pretty convincing answers themselves. At the end of the day, its how you approach them. As the saying goes once again, "If you can't beat them, join them".