How can you receive inspiration for those you teach at Church? This past Friday, the Church announced some pretty major updates to both the teaching style and curriculum of Relief Society and Priesthood classes. It focuses more on the personal needs of your ward and community.
This can be an intimidating prospect, especially when you consider all teachers are simply volunteers who accepted a calling and may not have any formal teaching experience. No matter what your comfort level is, here are some great ideas on how to receive inspiration from God to become a better teacher and friend to your ward members.
Get to Know Your Ward Members
An informed teacher is an inspired teacher. The more you know about the people in your class, the more directed your preparation can be. If you’re called to a presidency or to be a teacher, try to talk to your ward members and get to know more about them and what is going on in their lives. This can be as simple as talking to people before class begins or working to build more lasting friendships with certain sisters or brothers.
Ward leadership is also a great resource. Talk with your bishopric, your presidencies, and other groups for their input and counsel on what might best benefit the group on any given week.
Pray to Know Their Needs
Sincerely pray to know the needs of those you teach. While it is rare to be given specifics, you may feel inspired to focus on one aspect of the lesson or to address a certain topic. The most powerful way to make your prayers effective is to do your part and prepare.
Try to spend at least a week pondering and thinking about what how you want to utilize your lesson to bless the members you’re teaching. Remember, Christ knows each one of them and wants to reach them. He can help lead you in the right direction.
Be Willing to Change & Adapt
In the past, structured lessons have led teachers to obsess about covering every bit of the material. It is important that you leave room for the Spirit during your lesson. Often times, the Holy Ghost will direct you in the moment about what needs to be said. Prepare, and then be willing to change. Does it look like the group is getting passionate about a single part of the lesson? Cut everything else out and let them talk. Does someone have a pertinent question that takes up a lot of time? Let the discussion happen.
Change and adapt based on the Spirit you’re feeling during the lesson.
Talk Less, Ask More
Take notice of how much you’re talking versus how much everyone else is talking. Your main goal should be to act as a facilitator. The best way to do this is to ask inspired questions. You can even ask the class the beginning of the class what questions they have about the topic so you can see if you can address them throughout the lesson.
Don’t Try to Be Better Than the Spirit
At the end of the day, your role as a teacher is to invite the spirit and create an atmosphere of vulnerability. While you should definitely feel confident in teaching, especially if it is something you love, don’t let pride overcome your purpose. We often want to share our own ideas, teach in a flashy or entertaining manner, or impress the group with how much we know and understand. Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
If your focus is on how to help your class members have an enriching and personal experience with Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost, your lesson will surely be inspired.