Don’t become a one-man-band. No one person has all the answers or talent. The more you try to do everything yourself, the more you will find yourself making mistakes, getting stressed out and no longer enjoying yourself. You will also tend to make those around you rely on you to the point that they are no longer effective at all, will not think for themselves and will only do what you specifically ask them to do and nothing more.
Never let your church kids be aloof from the bus kids or visitors. Encourage them to sit together, play together and become friends. Talk to your church kids separately about including the bus kids into their groups.
Practice everything before you do it live. This goes for songs, object lessons, games, lessons and anything else that you do. You will be very surprised at how many things can go wrong if you don’t try them out ahead of time.
Try and get one main point over in the lesson. Don’t crowd the lesson with a lot of information that is not needed.
Always try and be in control of your class. Everyone will respect a teacher that stays in control of the class. This is your classroom—YOU ARE IN CONTROL! A prepared lesson is a must to help control an undisciplined class. If you are not prepared, not only do you know it, but the class also knows it. They will intimidate you and no doubt be bored to the point of acting up.
Teachers must ALWAYS smile.
You need to both have a plan and set goals. Make your goals attainable but something that you have to work hard at to achieve. Set goals for attendance numbers, for someone to get the Holy Ghost in your class (assuming that no one has to this point), for someone to be baptized in Jesus name from your class etc.
We only have one hour per week. Make it as good as it can possibly be. These kids and God need nothing less than 100%.
Be a part of every planning session that your Sunday school program puts together and give your input in an effort to make the program better. If you can’t be bothered to attend then don’t complain about what others decide in your absence.
Sometimes you have to spend some of your own money to get Sunday School stuff. Don’t be a cheapskate and ask the church to reimburse you every time you buy something silly and small. This does not mean that I am discouraging you from buying silly and small things just that it is okay to invest some of your own money into your ministry. This is typically not a problem if you are passionate about what you do. There are plenty of very inexpensive places to buy things from such as the dollar store, the thrift store, school supply places and online.
Try to have every activity that the class does tie into the main topic. Every game, every song, every object lesson and even the snack can contribute toward the furtherance of the theme. Such as, if you are teaching about Jonah and the whale you might give goldfish crackers to the kids as a snack.
You DO learn by failure – it is called EXPERIENCE.
Many of these kids have had little or no teaching during their upbringing about how to be a true man or woman. They may not understand fully about integrity, honesty, self-control, generosity and many other character traits that we take for granted. We need to take it upon ourselves to teach these along with the plan of salvation.
Teach out of your Bible – Have your notes inside but let them see the Bible
A teacher must learn to take criticism. Temper is what gets most of us in trouble; pride is what keeps us there.
Teach the subjects that are pertinent to your age group. For example, a youth class is interested in the opposite gender. Therefore teach dating, manners, communications, how to dress, how to deal with peer pressure and about the future.
A class name is a fun thing and helps to bring the class together. People identify with a name. (A contest is an exciting way to get a name for the class.
If you are not already taking attendance you need to really think about doing so beginning immediately. This helps in many ways such as giving you a list of names to pray over, finding out where they live so you can visit them, finding out their birthdays so you can celebrate it with them, warning you of attendance problems before it goes too far AND the simple act of writing down the information can help you connect with that child and will make it much easier for you to remember their name in the future. It will even help you remember the family relationships of the kids such as who is whose sibling etc.
If you have a bus ministry you do not have to have redundancy here so if possible use the same attendance lists between the buses and the classes. There is a lot of software out there for church attendance that can be tweaked for Sunday school. Our church is using Servant Keeper and through a lot of trial and effort we have finally succeeded in making it usable for our buses and Sunday school classes. We use it to track attendance and to generate name-tags (more info on this coming soon).
Ask for prayer requests in class. You can even setup a prayer request box and hand out slips of paper for the kids to write them on. They can put them in the box and you can pray for them later or the whole class can do so together.
Go to class expecting exciting things to happen
Talk to the parents about their kids and ask if there is anything you can do for them. Ask if they have any needs we can pray about.
Purchase many of the EXACT same type of Bible and hand one out to each child at the beginning of class. You will find that some kids who cannot find a scripture in the Bible will feel out of place say you can call out that the first person who finds the scripture has to call out the page number! It can be exciting for those who know their Bible and less stress for those who do not.
Here is a fun way to form teams. While you can always just count them… off 1, 2, 3 etc if you have the time it can a lot of fun to make it a fun event. Write the numbers 1, 2 or 3 (depending on how many teams you need) on slips of paper and then have each child pick one slip of paper from a bag. Tell them to be careful not to show anyone else the number written on it. Then have all the kids get up and shake the hand of someone else the exact number of times shown on their slip of paper. The object is for each kid to find someone else who has the same number by shaking hands the same number of times. The fun is when one kid wants to stop shaking before the other, which is a sign that they are not a match. As kids find someone with the same number, have them stay together and find someone else who belongs to their team by shaking hands. Eventually, individual teams will be formed. Example: To form 3 teams with twelve kids (4 to a team) you will write four 1s, four 2s, and four 3s on slips of paper. Options: Instead of shaking hands, try clapping hands, snapping fingers, or high fives.