Here are some ideas for Relief Society Presidents, Visiting Teaching Leaders, Coordinators, and Supervisors:
When assigning or making changes to routes:
- It always helps to pray before making changes, and remind sisters that you prayed and felt inspired about these changes before passing out new routes.
- When I notify sisters by email, I always say something like "Bishop T. has approved the following changes to your route..." so they'll know that he is involved in making the changes.
- Ask each visiting teacher if she knows her new companion. If not, offer to introduce her.
- Ask each visiting teacher if she knows all the sisters on her route. If not, offer to introduce them.
- When making lots of changes, be sure to point out the telephone number of the District Leader or Visiting Teaching Coordinator at the top of the new route so that sisters know to whom they report.
- It may help to have the person the sisters report to (a VT Supervisor, VT Coordinator, etc.) pass out changes so that you can emphasize who needs to receive reports.
- All wards do it differently, but in this ward, our RS President calls VTers before she makes changes to their routes to see if they have something special going on with a sister before they are moved. Some sisters are able to get into homes that others can't, and changing those routes could cause problems.
- When a huge upheaval is called for, some units write the names of all visiting teachers and a second list of all sisters on colored paper with magnetic strips on the back. Then they rearrange the whole list on a church chalkboard (they're magnetic). It's easier than trying to work it out on paper and helps keep you from leaving someone out.
- Consider time and distance. If a Visiting Teacher works days and is with a companion that doesn't always come with her, would she be required to travel a long distance after dark to make visits?
- Don't worry if something doesn't work out with an assignment. No route will ever be perfect. Consult with your presidency, VT leader, and Bishop and to make any changes. It really does get easier over time.
- I find I make changes to about 20% of routes every 3 months due to move-ins and schedule changes.
- The list we are supposed to print for Visiting Teaching Supervisors/Coordinators is "Companionships by District". The problem is, that list does not include contact information for the sisters in each route. But here's a trick I learned: if you print out the page for "Enter Visiting Teaching Contacts" for each district (using the pull down menus to select district and by companionship), you'll get a list that has each Visiting Teacher's telephone number and the phone numbers of the sisters they visit. This way your VT District Supervisors don't have to hunt for phone numbers. We print this section, cut off the bottom section titled "Sisters Not Assigned to be Taught" for privacy reasons, since it has personal information that isn't really necessary for Supervisors to have, and distribute that list to supervisors. Using that page makes it much easier for supervisors to make their calls.
- When taking reports, ask if there are any needs or concerns that should be passed up the food chain. Remind them that confidential concerns should be communicated to the RS president directly.
- When taking reports, you may also want to ask sisters how they are doing and if they need help
- Take note of sisters who have not been contacted during the last quarter and ask the Visiting Teachers if something is preventing them from contacting those individuals.
- When you notice that visits aren't being made at all, ask if there is anything you can help with. You may also want to ask if both VTers are making visits and appointments together.
- Don't make sisters feel guilty when they make reports. Your job is not to make people want to visit teach or even to inspire them to action. (Don't berate; motivate!) Your job is simply to report stats, pass along concerns, and offer help. Remember there are many reasons people don't get 100% visiting teaching every month. If they feel they aren't doing their best at visiting teaching, they'll beat themselves up -- you won't have to help.
- One VTC passed around slips of paper and an envelope with the RS Clipboard for sisters to make confidential reports on the second and fourth Sunday of each month. This can help cut down on the number of phone calls made last minute. (There should be space on the note for special needs or concerns that should be communicated to the RS President, and it should have instructions on marking contacts as visits, phone calls, or letters.)
- Some wards have a Visting Teaching Minute during Opening Exercises for the Visiting Teaching Coordinator to explain something about this month's message or give general instructions or reminders. Avoid using this time to scold -- you'll offend both good VTers and struggling ones.
- Sometimes a form for each sister to keep track of her Visiting Teaching at home is useful, so that if you need to go back and check if visits were made, there's a backup. It may also serve as a reminder for sisters that someone hasn't been seen in a while.
- Try emailing your sisters 2 or 3 days before the end of the month to contact their sisters by phone or email if they haven't made contact already, and remind them to contact their supervisors to make a report.
- LDS.org's Visiting Teaching Questions and Answers
- LDS.org's Sample Visiting Teaching Visit
- LDS.org: Visiting Teaching Main (NEW) - has helpful information for both visiting teachers and for Relief Society presidents on organizing visiting teaching.
Please share your tips on visiting teaching reporting below!