Almost Every Answer for Practically Any Teacher

(Paperback - Jul 2005)
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Questions? Answers.
Teachers face the threat of burnout, the challenge of discipline, and the complexity of different learning styles. Here's your chance to get a firm grasp on every issue from A to Z This book contains 100 articles that provide insight, inspiration, and instruction for those who communicate God's truth at school, home, church, or in the workplace. Edited by bestselling author Bruce Wilkinson, this is your resource for making a life-changing impact on your students. Includes articles by a variety of Christian leaders, from Charles Swindoll to Joni Eareckson Tada and A.W. Tozer.
An Indispensable Tool for Every Teacher
Everyone who communicates God's truth, whether at school, church, the home, or the workplace, can use a little guidance from the experts. Now this companion resource to "The 7 Laws of the Learner" presents the answers for the most common problems you will encounter when teaching for life change.
Handpicked by bestselling author Bruce Wilkinson, these one hundred articles by some of the most revered Christian leaders will provide insight, inspiration, and instruction for the educational task at hand.
Overcome burnout before it overcomes you.
Know the dos and don'ts of discipline.
Learn how incidental praise brings out the best in students.
Accomplish life change by telling stories as you teach.
Learn to use illustrations and applications so they work.
Understand the purpose of the Holy Spirit in your teaching.
Discover why students fail tests.
Learn how to listen with genuine interest to your students.
Become a teacher who disciples and mentors students.
Story Behind the Book
Bruce Wilkinson had received thousands of requests for a book about how people learn. Having taught teachers all over the world, he developed the Seven Laws as the basis of his teaching workshops. In 1991 he sat down to put this content into book form. Published originally as a partnership between Multnomah Publishers and Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, this companion workbook to" The 7 Laws of the Learner" was written in an effort to improve how teachers teach and how learners learn.


  • SKU: 9781590524534
  • SKU10: 1590524535
  • Title: Almost Every Answer for Practically Any Teacher
  • Series: Seven Laws of the Learner
  • Qty Remaining Online: 142
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books
  • Date Published: Jul 2005
  • Pages: 445
  • Illustrated: Yes
  • Weight lbs: 1.21
  • Dimensions: 8.98" L x 6.12" W x 1.23" H
  • Features: Table of Contents, Price on Product, Illustrated
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical;
  • Category: TEACHING HELPS
  • Subject: Christian Education - General

Chapter Excerpt

Chapter One



* * *

Topical Survey


Our Most Precious Possession J. Oswald Sanders . 20 Has Anyone Seen My Time? Gordon MacDonald 22 It's About Time! Charles R. Swindoll . 26 Overcome Burnout Before It Overcomes You! Larry E. Neagle 32 Build Your Library for Effective Bible Study James F. Stitzinger . 54 Discouragement: Its Cause and Cure Charles R. Swindoll . 60 Ministry and the Spirit's Control John F. MacArthur Jr. 85


How to Evaluate Your Teaching Kenneth O. Gangel 36 Teaching Behavior Inventory Harry Murray . 40 A Teacher-Building Test Marlene D. LaFever . 44


Eleven Practical Secrets of Discipline Katie Abercrombie 65 Perturbing Personalities in Your Class Neal F. McBride . 67 Help! I Can't Take It Any Longer! Daniel E. Weir . 72 Surviving a Troublemaker's Attacks Ann Cannon 76 "Dos and Don'ts" of Discipline Linda and Keith Burba . 82


Excellence in Sunday School Teaching Carl Shafer . 47 How to Build a Successful Teaching Staff Jo Berry 12 "A+" Parent-Teacher Conferences K. Meyers and G. Pawlas 28 Give Them a Choice of Assignments! Donn McQuirk 88

How to Build a Successful Teaching Staff

Jo Berry

What does "teacher recruitment" mean in the average church? Unfortunately, not what it should. A veteran educational consultant and teacher outlines what a successful teacher recruiting should look like.

The truth is that most churches have a problem procuring Sunday school staff. Why? I have asked many teachers, pastors, and Sunday school administrators as well as laymen who have refused a class. The basic reason, I discovered, is that most people will not teach because they are afraid they can't handle such a lofty task.

Men and women of God are not too selfish to give of their time, and they do want to trust the Lord, to let His perfect love cast out fear. They know something of their gifts, too. But Christian educators, whether pastors or laymen in positions of responsibility, are not preparing people; and God's people have enough common sense to refuse to get into something for which they are not qualified.

If we want well-staffed, competent Sunday schools, therefore, we need to rethink our basic approach to providing staff. We must look at our philosophy of recruiting and training teachers. To introduce this, let's look at some dangerous misconceptions about what a Sunday school teacher is supposed to be.


1. One misconception is to think all Sunday school teachers will automatically know how to teach, present material, and set up a classroom, as if they were superhuman saints.

2. We also make a mistake when we act as if all a teacher has to do is teach Sunday school. Intellectually, we may agree that there are minor incidentals in their lives, such as homes, families, and jobs; yet we act as if Christian teachers always have time to study devotedly for hours and attend endless, and sometimes meaningless, meetings.

3. Also, we erroneously envision each teacher as a haloed saint whose entire life is devoted to being a Sunday school teacher, one who never has the urge to miss church on a sunny Sunday. And, of course this devoted educator, no matter how severely or unfairly he is criticized, never gets upset or snappy!

4. Due to a final misconception, we consider a teacher someone who never makes a mistake-especially in front of his class!-and who will know the answer to every question that is asked.

No wonder the average layperson is afraid to teach and is fearful about meeting the requirements of our unrealistic stereotype! He knows he has many weaknesses, he is torn between various commitments, and he has difficulty maintaining his priorities. He is afraid if he adds another, especially one as demanding as teaching, it will be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back.


1. First and foremost, recruiting should be done continually, not annually, semiannually, quarterly, or when things reach panic proportion.

2. Bulletin announcements should be made frequently, so the needs of the Sunday school are presented to the congregation on an ongoing basis.

3. Leaders must provide opportunities for prospective teachers and workers to go into classrooms to see what a position would involve.

4. Pulpit announcements should be made as often as necessary. If the pastor regularly stresses the value and importance of the Sunday school, the congregation will be more responsive.

Some recruiting amounts to looking for a live body to fill a space. In a way it is coercion, trapping someone who doesn't know how to say "no" to a person in authority and shoving that person into a task he or she cannot do. This approach cannot be justified in light of Paul's admonition to Timothy that we should not place a novice in a position of authority.


Those responsible for building a teaching staff must be willing to function on the premise that competent educators don't just happen: They are trained and developed.

The secular world recognizes this. So must the church. Even if someone has been gifted by the Holy Spirit, he must be trained to use his gifts properly, within the framework of his own local church. Christ shepherded the Twelve: He called them, then devoted Himself to teaching and nurturing them so they would be effective when they were sent to serve.

No matter how large or small your church, if you want good teachers, and enough of them, you must offer to train them for the job. You must set standards, lay down requirements for service, and be selective about who is to be allowed to hold the influential position of teacher.

But how can you challenge people to attend training sessions? Most important, it should be a stringent requirement that anyone who is going to teach must complete the church's training course. Too often we are willing to compromise important standards just to get volunteers. I have observed that churches with the fewest staffing problems have the most demanding training courses: classes of eight to twelve sessions that include written homework assignments and classroom observation and allow absences only for illness.

Also, leaders would be wise to choose a time for the course that will encourage attendance. Since most volunteers are regular churchgoers, they will be more apt to attend if training sessions are on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings as part of the regular schedule.

Several small churches have ongoing programs where the pastor disciples individual members who are going to teach. Sometimes the Sunday school superintendent spends several weeks in a one-on-one basis with trainees before they go into classrooms. In some cases, teachers train their own replacements before leaving. It should be a hard-and-fast rule never to put people into classrooms until they are properly trained.


We commit a second error if we offer no secondary support systems to teachers. Once they have started to teach we ignore them. But the basic training they have received is not sufficient; they need additional classes to help them develop expertise and to stimulate their creativity.

Periodically churches should offer courses on a variety of topics, as needs are noted. Teachers need practical suggestions on how to improve: constructing bulletin boards, preparing lessons, developing lecturing and questioning techniques, disciplining the unruly child, and preparing interest centers. Also "how to" courses are needed: how to teach a song, make interesting arts and crafts, conduct group discussions, or use the overhead projector. A good in-service program will eliminate the weaknesses and undergird the strengths of the teaching staff.


Another mistake we make is to shut teachers off from the chance to be students themselves in a Bible class. In most churches all classes occur at the same time, so this seems impossible. But we might, for example, offer an adult class on a weeknight for Sunday school teachers only. Or we might find ways to give each teacher a tape of the class of his choice. Nursery workers and children's church workers who must miss the worship service could receive a copy of the pastor's sermon.

But even beyond this, a teacher needs to be refueled; he or she should have a time for rest and recuperation. The easiest way to assure that teachers get some relief is to establish a quarterly rotation system whereby a person can take off one quarter out of every four. This means he will teach nine months and then take a "mini-sabbatical" for three. This is accomplished by developing a full staff, regardless of the size of the church.


Use of supplemental teaching positions will allow for flexibility, and several staff categories might be established.

1. The first is the full-time teacher, who will teach for three quarters and then take off one quarter (not necessarily the summer). The timing will depend on the needs of the Sunday school and the teacher's schedule.

2. The second category is part-time teacher. This person will teach only one or two quarters a year, filling in for full-time teachers.

3. Category three is the backup teacher. He is being discipled by the regular teacher, and sits in the class of his chosen grade level as often as possible. He may be called on by the full-time teacher to substitute or to do team teaching. He should always be prepared with the week's lesson, even if he is not planning to attend the class. Every grade level should have one backup teacher.

4. The fourth category is substitute. Such a person will teach on an "on call" basis and serves when the backup teacher is not available to fill in. Those in junior high through career-age brackets make good substitute teachers.

5. The last category is aide, who does not teach or prepare lessons, but assists with the physical manipulations in the room. People with special talents-such as pianists and secretaries-are in this category. Aides can supervise nonteaching children's activities, such as storytelling and arts and crafts. Many young persons who start in this capacity end up as full-time teachers.

If a teacher knows he will have a backup/support system, he will more readily accept a position. He needs the freedom to miss a Sunday or to go out of town without feeling guilty or thinking he is deserting the cause of Christ.


Most churches discourage prospective teachers because they overwork the one they have. Word gets around-once a teacher, always a teacher. Leaders and educators have to be more empathic about the service they expect and more selective about whom they allow to teach. If they truly want a quality Sunday school they must be more concerned with proper placement than merely with having "teachers" in the classrooms.

Hudson Taylor said, "God's work done in God's way never lacks God's supply." To put the wrong person in the wrong position just because he's there at a time of a vacancy can cripple the working of the whole body.

Pastors, Christian education directors, and administrators must rely on the leading of the Spirit in the hearts of people rather than on their own begging or coercion. They must commit themselves to the premise that they would rather not have a teacher in a class than to have someone with an unwilling spirit.


Another erroneous concept is that women, not men, should teach children. Have you ever noticed how we feminize the children's division in the church? In most churches a huge majority of teachers in grades six and below are women. In some congregations all are. Why? Certainly not because of any biblical injunction. Probably not because it is written or required policy. I am afraid it is for that old excuse, "We've always done it this way."

If we accept this premise and exclude the possibility of having the men in the congregation teach children, we cut our resources of recruiting almost in half. This "women teach the kids" policy is a loss to the entire body. Children, even very young ones, need a father figure. Many little ones in our churches come from broken homes and desperately need a masculine touch-a representative of God the Father. A man in the classroom can help control behavior, improving the overall quality of instruction. By including men we also open the possibility of having husband-wife teams.


Along with reevaluating educational philosophy and the approach to recruiting and training staff, Christian educators also need to encourage teachers by:

1. Being available to them.

2. Being supportive of them.

3. Providing the services and materials needed to make their jobs easier.

4. Providing both initial and ongoing training.

5. Offering opportunities for study.

6. Covering expenses to send teachers to appropriate training events.

7. Seeing that supplies and materials are easy to obtain. Teachers should not have to grovel to get the tools of their trade, whether crayons, workbooks, duplicated outlines, or slide projectors. Even small churches should see that teaching materials are a high priority in the budget. Both children and adults are accustomed to sophisticated methods and materials-the world goes all out to attract us-and unless the church strives for quality, we will lose the interest of our students.

8. Making it convenient, even easy, for teachers to shift or resign their positions.

A Sunday school whose leaders are not willing to revamp their philosophical approach and training methods will always have staff problems.



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