While it is certainly enjoyable to watch the children learn new things or think new thoughts, it actually is just the reverse I found most surprising. What I learn from them during the lessons is profoundly rewarding. The way their unobstructed thoughts are articulated into theories about the world around them; how they interpret stories or scripture; their unique take on an art project; it all forms an environment rich with creativity and flourishing with imagination.
To say this is inspiring would be an understatement. Every time I get to teach, a little thrill runs down my spine. This wasn’t always so. At first, I was terrified. What if the kids don’t like me? What if I screw up or say the wrong thing? What if everything gets out of control crazy? Well, sometimes these things happen. I distinctly remember, after what I was told was a particularly moving service where there was a moment of silence, the kids in my classroom all decided at that very moment to start screaming with high-pitched giggly voices as if they were trying to out-yell each other. However, instead of judgment on my class management skills (or lack thereof) I received mostly laughs from parents picking up their kids.
Bible Adventures for me isn’t just a chance to teach the kids, it’s a chance to get to know them and a chance to explore through their eyes. Of course, having an excellent curriculum helps. I remember the days of trying to come up with a lesson because either there wasn’t one or the one provided was, well, awfully vague or overly complicated. Most of those lessons were obviously meant for a much longer Sunday School session than the typical thirty to forty minutes we have during the remainder of worship. The curriculum our Christian Education Coordinator, Kristina, acquired for us to use seems like a perfect fit, not only as a way to break up the lesson into two parts when needed, but also as part of our church philosophies and values. The days of spending a week or two trying to build a lesson are a thing of the past, and for me at least on a recent Sunday, asking for a printout of the lesson I was teaching that morning because, in typical Cory fashion, I didn’t check my email to look at the lesson until late the night before and found that the file wouldn’t open on my computer because it wasn’t in PDF format like it usually is. Funnily this was probably one of my favorite lessons, where after reading the story we gathered in a circle on the floor and filled a glass jar with glass pebbles, one at a time, saying what we were thankful for. Sometimes it really is just the simple things in life that bring about the greatest joy.
So again I ask myself, why am I a Sunday School Teacher? Quite simply put it is because I have a thirst for knowledge, and sometimes that knowledge is only accessible from a child’s point of view.