Sunday, February 1, 2009

Teaching 101

So Rachel and I have been attending the Denton Spanish-speaking branch for the past few weeks. A more accurate description of this unit would be "bilingue" or perhaps "Spanglish." There's a fair amount of both languages bouncing off the chapel walls every week.

Last week the branch president asked if we would meet with him later this week. The reason was to offer us callings, or responsibilities in the branch (all positions are filled by volunteers in our church).

So, today I began as a young adult Sunday school teacher. Rach will be teaching seminary, in addition to helping me team-teach my class. Needless to say, we're sticking with this branch until we eventually move.

I think Sunday school is pretty well-understood by most, so I'll skip to explaining a bit about seminary. In LDS culture, "seminary," refers to an additional class taken outside of church where high-school age students can study the different books of our cannon: The New and Old Testaments, The Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants. As a convert, I missed out on this experience, which tends to be quite enriching from what I hear.

I haven't taught a class in a while, religious or otherwise. It was a bit tricky considering I have yet to get a feel for the branch itself. I don't really know anyone's name yet. So I sort of hit the ground running if you will. I was of course nervous, and it showed. My class of five (including my wife) seemed kinda bored with the first fifteen minutes. Thankfully things went better for the rest of the lesson. I loosened up, sat down, and inadvertently opted for a seminar, as opposed to lecture, approach to finishing the class. It was nice. People started sharing thoughts and experiences, and I walked away feeling I had a good first day. Win-win.

Teaching is a great thing. I've had a lot of practice in church, as well as the mission field. Every time I always walk away learning more than anyone I attempt to teach. Still, its an important skill to obtain. Like all things, its a process. Hopefully I can remember one of the most important lessons in teaching: never quit being a student.


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