Do you have Sunday School students who delight in causing mischief? If so, think for a moment about your practices as a teacher. You might be able to help your students improve their behavior by changing your teaching behavior. As you consider the areas below, note improvements you might make as a teacher that could translate into better behavior by your students.
- Teacher Preparation—By knowing your subject material and procedures well, you’ll be able to pay more attention to your students. Students tend to misbehave when their teacher’s nose is in the teacher’s manual. You’ll be more flexible and at ease when you know your content.
- Promptness—Arrive at Sunday School in time to organize your materials in advance. Provide a warm-up activity for early arrivals. If students arrive before you, their safety is in jeopardy and their behavior can become unruly.
- Awareness—Become familiar of the physical, social, emotional, and mental characteristics that are typical for the age of your students. Even though students vary widely in their rate of development, you will more accurately differentiate between their normal and abnormal behavior by knowing their traits. You will be able to discipline more effectively when you can determine whether the misbehavior comes from willful defiance or immaturity.
- Consistency—Establish basic classroom rules, discuss them with your students, and uphold them week by week. Reteach the rules periodically. Set a general order of events for your Sunday School session and stick to that routine. Students respond more cooperatively in structured settings.
- Concern—Take a personal interest in your students—attend their ball games, celebrate their accomplishments, ask about their week at school. When students sense that you truly care about them, they are more likely to respond likewise.
- Prayer—The Lord is one who changes lives. Our job is to point our students to the Lord and pray for their transformation.
As teachers, we must prepare diligently for our time of instruction with our students. We have the most important curriculum in the world–God’s Word! In the next issue of Synergy, Helping Students Behave-Part 3 will address how to shape your lesson presentation to help students stay focused.
Daria Greening, seminar leader
Regular Baptist Ministries