TOP 10 REASONS TO
TEAM TEACH SUNDAY SCHOOL
"You use steel to sharpen steel,
and one friend sharpens another."
She sat alone in the classroom, praying.
First, she thanked God for calling upon her to take part in the instruction of young people. She was praying for the kids to know Jesus through her.
But she was also praying that she would recall what she planned to teach. She prayed for strength to get through the hour with the material she was given. She prayed for a loaves-and-fishes moment because she wasn't given much to work with ...
Maybe she didn't know this at the time, but what she was praying for was a TEAM.
Team teaching. You've heard of it, but does it work? Doesn't it get too many irons in the fire? Doesn't it seem a bit overkill? Why on earth would I help implement this in Sunday School?
I love team teaching. I'll drive around to WHY in a minute, but let me share the two things it can mean for some groups:
- A different teacher every week so that one isn't overwhelmed.
- Several teachers in the room helping all at once so kids stay focused.
What Team Teaching Really Means...
What I am talking about is a team of teachers who are responsible for different things, in 5 to 15 minute increments -- and they don't have to stay in the room the entire time. Team teaching engages a group of teachers who are working eagerly, regularly, and together (whether they are there the whole time or not) in order to help a class of students of any age grow closer to Jesus. Let's consider HOW ...
Let's say a group of seven teachers are together to talk about their class.
What? Seven? In ONE class?
These smart teachers brainstorm together set objectives for a course, design a plan, prepare individual lesson plans, teach students, do supplemental support and the results evaluate themselves. They share observations, field any disagreements, and evaluate the students themselves to decide which approach is better.
So yes, there is some planning to be had in the beginning, but the results are well worth the planning from the get go. New teachers can be paired with "old pro" teachers. Innovations are encouraged and modifications are permitted.
Different personalities, approaches, voices, and values keep attention, spark interest, and most definitely prevent ANY kind of boredom. In a "nutshell list" here is what team teaching does:
Encourages Teacher Communication
Team teaching will encourage great communication between Sunday AM and midweek PM teachers. They are teaching the same thing with different emphasis! For example, a lesson is taught on Sunday and the activities to supplement and provide "oomph!" to that message are reviewed at midweek.
The Sleuth for the Truth lessons, for example, may talk about Noah's ark on Sunday and then midweek, have a related activity and then asks an excited child to colour and pin an image on a Biblical Timeline to help them start focusing on the Bible's big story and the continuity not only of your class, but of the Old Testament!
Provides a stronger continuity for the kids’ knowledge bank. You already know that it takes repetition to remember things in school. This is a repetition that inspires students to take the lesson to heart and continue living it at home. And with a team providing the lesson, they get to hear it six or seven fun and interesting ways from different adults they love and respect!
But many Bible curriculums understand that discipling students in different aspects of their walk with God "can be challenging as students can be at different places in their spiritual growth." Therefore, strong continuity seriously increases engagement.
Provides a great SUPPORT SYSTEM.
Sometimes teachers can swap places, if the lesson inspires different talents. The TEAM knows what is being taught and the TEAM has a plan to share that lesson. If one cannot make it Sunday, there is always someone to cover that role, even if it had to be last minute.
Opportunities to Brainstorm & Share
Gives great opportunities to brainstorm share ideas, share visuals, approaches where the strong support system is felt in this (the feeling of not being alone) and it doesn’t necessarily require more people, just some rethinking and reconstruction if the need arises.
After all, being on a team means being drawn together by TEACHING JESUS as your common interest. Drawing from others' energy and emotion gives a lot of horsepower and effectiveness to your commitment as well.
Helps provide better discipline.
Think kids shouldn't need discipline in church? Think again. It's easy for kids to think, "Oh, it's just church. I know these people. I can "be myself" and act how I feel." As Horace Mann said, "Manners easily and rapidly mature into morals."
Really, manners and morals ARE directly connected. Team Teaching gives us chances to really work on the kid’s individual needs (and sometimes problems). A consistent, caring atmosphere is provided where each child feels important and heard and is ultimately inspired to learn and grow with the others!
Opportunity to train teachers!
Team teaching provides a church with the opportunity to train teachers and actually do it THE EASY WAY! with a good handful (6 or 7) on board, there is no way NOT to learn to teach! What church doesn't want THAT for future leaders and teachers?
Team teaching becomes teaching in development and an integral part of supporting your team. Grounding your team in self-care through the lens of character strengths and mindfulness and it will be a boon to every single teacher as they come forward, energized to teach the most important truth those kids will ever know.
Everyone can use their talents.
Gives room for people who will not (or even cannot) teach to find a place for their talents. Why? Isn't it still teaching? Well, not necessarily the traditional way. Sometimes you need a volunteer to come in for the first 10 minutes of class to listen to memory work or even just welcome kids from the hallway to the classroom.
Fortunately, there are some new curriculums out there that are getting new ideas for how to engage other members of the church body. But this definitely doesn't just have to be for big churches. This method can make a HUGE impact on smaller churches and their relationship with one another.
Takes away the problem of finding teachers.
The "tables are turned" where members of the church body are begging to teach instead of being begged to teach. In one midwestern congregation where I taught with a team years ago, there was actually a very large list of people to be called when needed! It wasn't really a "waiting list," but the members saw how much fun we were having with the kids and each other and so many people wanted a piece of it we had to keep track somehow!
Finding substitutes and no longer a problem.
The team has built-in substitutes. Enough said?
You get it. Someone is sick. Boom, you're covered. Someone wants to go to a special adult class for a while? You're covered there too. It is, OF COURSE, always better to tell your team in advance whenever possible, but this method is so simple (and brief for each individual) that if someone needs to be gone and it's NOT possible -- no problem.
Team teaching also helps YOU in your personal relationship with God by digging into His Word more than you expected!
I cannot tell you how many people I have admitted to that the very reason I decided to study theology in college was because of this method and group of teachers. They taught the word (and each other) with an amazing JESUS-CENTERED curriculum. It made me feel like I'd actually discovered something new about Jesus when I was telling kids how to find Him in Genesis.
Finally, I will ask YOU to ask YOURSELF, "Does this actually sound kind of impossible?" Something I will also repeat over and over ... guess what?
IT IS REALLY EASY. *pinky promise!*
And your substitute Sunday school teachers (well, even the regular ones sometimes), will not be snagging something off of the internet before they come to church (you know if happens *wink*).
Instead, even your built-in subs will feel empowered and there will be a general feeling of, "OH YAY! I get to do the crafts today!" or, "Cool, no problem, I can read over a five minute lesson," or, "Sure, I'll just go by the office and run off some of the game sheets for this activity," Or, "It is going to be so fun to watch the kids do that related activity today!"
After all, when each of these parts of the Scripture Scout's Sleuth for the Truth Sunday school lessons truly can take about 10 minutes long at minimum, it certainly takes any stress of having to cover a class for an entire hour.
And the next time YOU are sitting in the classroom praying before class (you do that, right?), desperation will not be the theme of your prayer! ;-)