The following notes were written by Sister Rita Schwebel, an 81-year old convert and Sunday School teacher. She shares her tips on preparing lessons, learning by discussion, and nervousness.
You’ll love reading how this faithful sister approaches her calling in the adult Sunday School after just 3 years’ membership in the church!
On Teaching and Talks
by Sister Rita Schwebel
Someone asked me if I was nervous when I got up to teach or give a talk. The answer was no. I look at teaching and giving talks as exciting challenges and learning experiences. There is much I do not know about the Bible and the Book of Mormon and I am sure other people don’t either. We are given the opportunity to learn as long as we live here on earth. What we learn is all we can take with us when we leave here to go to be with Heavenly Father. If you have done your home work and are prepared, what is there to be nervous about [when you teach a lesson or speak]?
Always pray asking Heavenly Father for wisdom, knowledge, understanding and guidance before you prepare a lesson or talk. Read the Book of Mormon Class Member study Guide looking up all the scriptures and writing the answers down. Now you are ready to read the Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual. Answer the questions you plan to use writing the answers down. Make sure you use all the questions asked in the Book of Mormon Class Member Study Guide.
When I am not clear on an answer, I ask the class their thoughts on the question and most of the time after they give their thoughts on the matter, the answer is made clear. They have learned from me, and I have learned from them. There have been times my answer has been wrong and someone will correct me. Then I thank them for the right answer and say. “I stand corrected,” and go on from there. I would rather be corrected and know the right answer. I do not feel embarrassed. This put us all on the same level of learning from each other.
What if you pronounce words wrong? I look the pronunciation up and still pronounce them wrong! Then someone might say, “That is close enough.” Just do the best you can with them. It isn’t the end of the world.
You may not get to finish the lesson in the time frame you have. Just get the most important questions covered.
When you ask [the class] a question … give the chapter and verse where [the students] can find it. Give them time to look it up and read it. Some people are slower than others. I am one of the slow ones.
Never argue. Teach by gentle persuasion.
If you are asked to give a talk, do your homework on the subject you are given. I use the internet, books, and magazines to get the material needed.
I am 81 years young and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints three years ago. After I was baptized and received the Holy Ghost, I asked for a calling and they let me teach the adult Sunday School class.
Yes, I make mistakes, but I [learn] from them and move on. As time goes by you develop and improve on your teaching skills.
My daughter has been teaching for some 30 years, and we can both teach the same lesson but no one would know it was the same lesson. That’s how different teaching skills can be. Both classes have learned from the lesson but in different ways.
Relax and be yourself. You will develop your own teaching skills.
Know that you are in the service of the Lord doing His will.
With God, all things are possible.
I told you it was great!
Source: I received a copy of this document from Sister Schwebel herself after I attended one of her Sunday School lessons. – Jenny