Saturday, December 29, 2007

Teacher Training

Today I conducted teacher training for new teachers for our preschool worship program. After I finished my agenda, I asked if there were any questions. One lady said, “I’m just afraid I won’t be a good enough teacher.”

The vulnerability I showed in my answer surprised me, yet my words were heartfelt, true and echoed by the other veteran teacher in the room. Here’s in part what I said.

Every week, I walk away from teaching, feeling intimidated and like a failure. I wonder if the kids got anything out of what I said. Were they listening? They didn’t seem to be, the way they ran around or wiggled while I was trying to teach.

Two months ago a member of our church brought her grandchildren to preschool worship and stayed with them so they would comfortable. I especially felt nervous with her in the room. One of her grandchildren stared at me the entire time. The other ran around and acted like he was totally out of touch with what was happening. Yet, just last week, the grandmother told me, “I’ve meant to tell you this for some time. That week I stayed with my grandchildren in Wee Worship, I was so impressed with what an excellent teacher you are. You had my grandchildren spellbound. When they came home, they repeated the entire story.” This came from a lady whose husband taught for years, one daughter is now a grade school teacher, and another daughter is an assistant principal. She knew what she was talking about and I was touched by her comment.

Another child has been a problem child for all of us. She always wants to play with the toys. She resists whatever I tell her to do. Yet, early in December, I was working with a community group to sponsor a “Breakfast With Santa” at a local restaurant. This child came in with her mother, spotted me and called in a loud voice, finger pointing in my direction, “There’s my teacher!”

They do listen. They do remember. And more important than the stories, they will remember you. “The best thing you can do for these children,” I told my fledgling recruit, “is to love them.”

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