My daughter is teaching preschool worship this month at our church. I have to admit, she was a last ditch effort recruit. Out of the blue, one of our teachers quit without even letting the other teachers or coordinators know. So, since my daughter is home from college on summer leave and was pining for something to do, she got recruited until we could catch our breath.
She’s taught before. During her junior and senior years of high school, she rotated with two other ladies in the Primary Sunday School class. But preschoolers are a new group for her, one with which she isn’t totally comfortable. However, she’s doing a great job.
This week, her lesson was on Ruth and Naomi, how Ruth was kind to Naomi. With her eyes crinkling into her characteristic smile, she told me, “I still remember when you taught that lesson. It was the first time I had even seen barley.” I had bought barley to show my class the grain Ruth gleaned. Later that week, I used the leftover barley to make barley soup for my family.
“Do I need to stick with barley?” she asked, “And what can I use for a healthy snack this week that would tie to the lesson?” We talked about how preschoolers wouldn’t catch the significance of barley – they wouldn’t care if it was barley or Cheerios. The focus of the lesson was Ruth picked up grain so she and Naomi could stay alive. Katherine decided she would spread a large clean sheet on the ground and sprinkle it with Cheerios, letting the kids pick up the Cheerios and put in their own paper cup for their snack, all the while telling the story of how Ruth picked up grain for Naomi.
Saturday morning, my girls joined me sitting crosslegged on my bed, with the dog in between us for a girl powwow. Katherine said, “I’m still not happy with my lesson.” She got her book, asked me how to handle certain activities considering the age and personalities of certain kids, and how she should organize the lesson. Actually, she did most of the talking, coming to conclusions on her own with just a little input from me on how kids that age would respond. Finally, she said, “I know what I could do! As the kids are picking up Cheerios, I could encourage them to leave some Cheerios for the poor people, just like they did in Bible times.” Now, even as a long time curriculum writer, I had not thought of that one. That is a good idea.
I was about to bust! My mother taught me how to teach; now I had the privilege of teaching my daughter how to teach. We were fulfilling 2 Timothy 2:2 which tells us to teach faithful men who will be able to teach others also. As teachers, we teach not just to enable our students to learn; we want to teach them so well, that some day, they will replace us as teachers.