Six ways you can motivate a Sunday school teacher
By Baraka Ngao
This Sunday in church we will be having “Teachers’ Appreciation Day”. I am excited about this event because some of my favorite childhood memories involve my Sunday school teachers who gave me opportunities to serve in class and, well, look, here I am many years later serving in church! Sunday school teachers are some of the first people to exert spiritual influence in the life of a child and they also help the church accomplish its mandate of making “…known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”. While you will agree with me that teachers are important you probably are scratching your head trying to figure out what ways you can partner with the church to recognize and celebrate them and to help make their ministry a joyful labor. Well, I thought of a few things to get you started.
1. Thank you cards
They are easy to make and not very costly to purchase. In fact if you do not consider yourself very artistic don’t even sweat it! Just put down something simple on a piece of paper and get your child, your spouse, and even your child’s grandparents to add little one line thank you messages. This one will certainly melt the teacher’s heart. I know of a parent whose children write thank you letters to their teachers every end of year before transitioning to the next class.
2. Invite the teacher for special occasions in the life of your child
As your child grows up there will be many occasions to mark progress and to celebrate the faithfulness of God. This will include birthdays, graduations, transition to high school, trips abroad etc. By inviting the teacher you are creating an opportunity for your child to interact and see their teacher as a person outside class and hence building friendship. Who knows, maybe by doing this you could be subtly communicating to your work colleagues, neighbors and friends that you value the teacher as an important stakeholder in your child’s life and that growth in Christ is important in your worldview.
3. Volunteer at the class
Small children can be cranky and difficult to control sometimes especially when they are sick or in a new environment. To make the teacher’s work easier you can consider staying in the class to help calm your child and in some cases to help out with other things. In fact why not set a part a Sunday a month to sit in and listen to what your child is learning in Sunday school. You will appreciate even more the work that goes on in the classes every other day.
4. Pay attention to the feedback and concerns raised concerning your child.
Teachers are able to notice behavior changes in your child. It could be anxiety, restlessness, indiscipline, or even some positive growth in character. When the teacher brings this to your attention show them that you have taken the matter seriously and ask for their input in handling the issue. This shows that you respect and value the teacher. Sadly there have been many instances where parents have had embarrassing altercations with teachers (even if you disagree with them.)
With the teacher’s permission consider visiting their home. Sometimes teachers are absent from class because they are unwell or undergoing a challenge. Call and schedule a visit. This includes when teacher gets a new baby.
I do not know of any better way you can demonstrate care and encouragement to anyone other than committing them to God. We pray for the people we really care about. Next time you walk into your child’s Sunday school class to pick or drop them consider lingering a little longer not for any other reason but just for a chat with the teacher. Find out their name, (if you do not t know it already) take their phone number, find out how they are doing and how you can pray with them. Some teachers do not have children of their own, some could be having an errant child or even be jobless. Ask them how you can pray for their families, their careers, their faith and any other need they may have.
This is not an exhaustive list but is sure to get you started. Do you know of other things to add? Let me know @BarakaNgao