…an article from Neil MacQueen, www.sundaysoftware.com
Related link: Print our free Computer Lab Teacher Training Pamphlet
It’s no secret.
Recruiting Volunteer Teachers is one of the least *liked* jobs in Christian education. Many would rather do all the teaching themselves than have to recruit others. Others put it off, and off, ….and off.
But here’s the thing.
You’re not “filling slots.” It’s not a task. It’s good ministry to ask others to teach.
- When you recruit someone to teach, you’re inviting them to put their faith into action.
- You’re inviting them to grow in faith.
- You’re inviting them to grow in their knowledge of scripture.
- And when parents are recruited, you’re giving them an example their children can learn from.
And you have some things going for you…
♦ Many volunteers are busy people, but most recognize their need for spiritual growth and time with the Bible. So here’s a great pitch for them: Instead of saying, “we need your help with the kids,” invite adults to, “come grow your own faith & knowledge of the Bible.”
♦ Many parents lament their kids lack of interest about church. So instead of saying, “we need parents to pitch in,” invite them saying, “bring your teenager with you to help teach.” Make their teaching participation a FAMILY project.
♦ Many parents grew up NOT LIKING Sunday School, and now you’re asking them to step into the belly of the beast. So instead of saying, “we need Sunday School teachers,” ask them to, “help you change Sunday School for the better.”
♦ Many would-be teachers feel INADEQUATELY PREPARED to impart Bible knowledge. So especially with our software, you want to express that “when you teach with software, it’s the SOFTWARE that provides ample amounts of the content and insights. You are there to be the “guide by the side, not the sage on the stage.” Many new teachers appreciate that. Our free Computer Lab Teacher Training Pamphlet emphasizes this!
♦ Many older members LAMENT “not knowing the kids in the church.” So bring them along with you to help teach a class. You’ll be feeding their needs, and those of the kids.
Not gonna lie…
Many people will straight-out tell you “I’ve done my duty when my kids were young.” I avoid those people. I don’t have time to correct such an attitude.
But….Many who have never taught before –are both afraid they won’t know how, and will be surprised how fun it is when they try! This is where my next huge piece of advice is so very important:
The Best Way to Recruit & Train Teachers for Sunday School
= “Come teach with me.”
- HELP them ease into the responsibilities.
- MODEL for them the kind of “tone” you want them to teach with.
- SHOW THEM how you want the kids to be treated.
- SHOW THEM how you want the lesson plan to start and end.
- BE an EXAMPLE of someone who has PREPARED.
Most of the volunteer computer lab teachers I’ve recruited over the years were parents, dads, and teenagers that I simply invited to “HELP ME” for a class. This is also a great way to discover a real diamond in the rough, and avoid getting STUCK with someone whose talents do not include relating well to children.
Especially with software –which almost NO adults have ever taught with, your LEAD TEACHER needs to ask new teachers to “come teach with me.”
NEXT: Print this Free Training Pamphlet and discuss it with them.
One of the things you want to do with this is PREVIEW the software. With new teachers, we recommend that you invite them into the lab to look at the software, -rather than give them the software to take home. If you give it to go home, it might not get looked at until Saturday night.
When they meet you, HAND THEM THE PRINTOUT of the guide we have prepared for your software. You will find the LINKS TO THESE GUIDES in the “DOC BOX” located at the bottom of each CD’s webpage here at www.sundaysoftware.com/software The feedback we get is that “left on their own, the volunteers won’t print the guides.” Rather, the guides need to be printed FOR them. Our online tips have many great lesson ideas for the teacher. We write them with new teachers in mind. But you need to print it FOR them. Then mark them up with your own notes.
That said, many volunteers simply don’t PREPARE like you want them to. And that’s where SOFTWARE helps you overcome their lack of preparation, because even on the WORST DAY in the computer lab, -with an unprepared teacher or computer malfunction, the kids will STILL WANT TO COME BACK. I know of no other teaching medium where we get this “break” with the kids.
Here’s where many of us are finding our computer lab teachers:
1. The parents of students are the place most recruiters look first, and in particular, the friends of the recruiter!
2. Invite FAMILIES to teach together. Many are looking for meaningful things to do together.
3. Techie Dads. If they relate well to children, they can be trained to teach. Have them come teach with you, and teach them about “lesson structure.”
4. Techie Senior Citizens. They exist! Some of my best customers are ‘retired’ and love to teach with software. They especially like the fact that the computers & software help diminish discipline problems and focus the kids’ attention. (Many older folks don’t like dealing with distracted, disruptive kids).
And yes, NON-techie Seniors can become great lab teachers too. Our self-professed “non-techie” chairperson of our committee, who also taught Sunday School, got a BIG KICK out of helping me teach in our lab.
5. Techie Teens: Many teens are already thinking about careers in teaching, and they see everyday at school how teachers lead a class. Most of them are tech-savvy, and teaching gives them a reason to attend church. I know, …I started teaching Sunday School when I was 17 yrs old.
6. What about you? Real teachers need to stay connected to kids to feed their souls. If you are a pastor, superintendent or director, recruit yourself to teach with software.
I first started teaching with software in 1990 and knew almost nothing about computers back then. I was a pastor and had plenty of other things I could have turned to. But when I saw how EAGER the kids were to learn in this manner, I knew it was something I had to figure out.
I have been working with volunteer teachers and staff ever since, and I’m here to help YOUR volunteers. Let them know that they have “a guy” at sundaysoftware.com who is willing to give them personal lesson and technical support, can talk theology as well as technology, and understands their classroom needs from first hand experience.
Read the book, Teaching with Computers in Christian Education.
It has many more suggestions on how to find, manage, and train Computer Lab Teachers,
…and the right way to set up your lab so you don’t LOSE them.