During my 12 plus years of working in children’s ministry, I have to say this past year was a first! My track records includes teaching small children’s church, the “big” kids’ church, an all-girl praise dance class and Sidewalk Sunday School. When the opportunity arose to be a temporary teacher in a boys’ class, I didn’t hesitate. I’m a fool for ministry!
I knew there would be challenges but I was up to the task, I thought. (Instant in season and out, right?) Connecting with little girls was a no-brainer – I was one! However, connecting with little boys was a bit different, but surprisingly, easy. I tapped into their natural curiosity for how things worked and their more matter-of-fact approach to their faith. Obstacles did arise like handling discipline and connecting with a few that didn’t like the idea of a female teacher. Here are my tips for teaching a boys’ class.
Structure the class from beginning to end. At my church, I’m never sure how long the service will last. We have a variety of speakers and singers that visit frequently. The kids’ service could be over in an hour or last up to two hours, according to who’s on the agenda.As one of my ministry instructors once told me, “If you don’t put on a program for kids, they will put one on for you.” Amen! Have a plan.
Follow a timeline. Assign blocks of time to each section for example, 10 minutes for an object lesson or 30 minutes for the main lesson. Leave room for extra activities at the end. Show up early. Lock the door and prepare the classroom.
I never let kids in too early. While I’m preparing I don’t have time to babysit. I put on a sign on a door letting boys know the class is open 15 minutes before church. Bus kids are kept in a playroom and regular attendees know the drill. When it’s time to start, the music is pumping and everything is in the right place. Boys can’t take over if I’m in charge right from the beginning.
Boys that show out regularly get to hold my hand and be my helper. The idea of holding my hand is pretty repugnant to a boy. I rarely have to hold a hand. I settle disputes quickly by immediately expelling kids that fight.
I don’t interrupt my class for counseling sessions. Volunteers remove kids that refuse to cooperate and have them sit in the holding area until parents retrieve them. When I took this class, we had a high number of temper flare ups, even on the bus. Our immediate action plan deters a lot of it. If a child is pulled out of class once, I meet with parents after. Twice and the child meets with senior pastor. Three times and the child is on a one month probation from the class.
I love teaching boys with short object lessons and segments of activity. We’ll stop the lesson for a spirited game of Simon Says or Bible Trivia, long enough to capture their attention. Teaching a boys’ class means keeping the program structured but you also have to be willing to throw away the schedule, at least for a few minutes, when the kids get restless!
Read more from Mimi by visiting her blog Encouragement for Christians.