Many members who have been teaching for years and have been through Teacher Development classes are probably thinking, “What more can I learn about teaching?” Teaching 101 clearly sets out the first principle of both learning and teaching — let the Spirit guide you. In so doing we will learn that preparation is key to being able to tune into the Spirit both before and during a lesson.
Our dedication is further enhanced by reading the scripture references as well as other supporting scriptures, searching through the words of our leaders, using the lds.org website effectively, and prayer. As the information starts to take shape in the mind, we should turn to our Heavenly Father in prayer for His guidance. There are always different areas of learning in each lesson with several different teaching suggestions. This is where the Spirit can guide us to determine which aspect of the lesson to highlight and how to present it in the best manner.
Diane Taim of the Johannesburg South Africa Stake, is a gifted teacher and has touched many lives. It is not uncommon to find people surrounding her after a lesson to thank her and sharing how they had received an answer or how inspired they felt. She has given a little insight into how she approaches a lesson. “When I was called to be the Gospel Doctrine teacher, part of me thought - I’ve got this. After all I had been a corporate trainer in the travel industry for many years prior to getting married and people didn’t scare me. What I learned over the next seven years changed me forever!”
“Heavenly Father is the teacher and I am the facilitator of His word. This is not my class. This is His class. I learned this very powerfully through teaching a lesson, The Fall of Adam. As I studied all I could through modern and ancient scripture and tried to understand it as best as I could, I felt Heavenly Father’s Spirit through me teach the lesson, enlighten my mind and help me teach with clarity and understanding beyond my ability. I have learned the greatest thing we, as teachers, can do is to qualify for and learn to feel and obey the Spirit,” said Sister Taim.
“How we live the gospel is the key to teaching the gospel. We need to study, pray and ponder diligently so we can accurately teach His word in a way that feeds His children’s souls like the Saviour fed the 5000 with a few fishes and a few loaves of bread.”
Sister Taim explained: “Sometimes as teachers, we might feel all we are offering is a few loaves and fishes, but Heavenly Father magnifies our efforts and His children are fed and spiritually strengthened to make changes and endure to the end.”
“I have felt so privileged to have been entrusted with teaching my Heavenly Father’s Gospel. It is a sacred trust which has blessed my life an hundred-fold and has increased my love and devotion to my Heavenly Father and my Saviour.”
It is best to remember that the lesson is not about us – how we look, how assertive we are or how confident we are. It is about how well we can listen to the Spirit and as the Spirit teaches the one who teaches becomes beautiful in the eye of the listener. The Saviour taught us to focus on the One, to look for the lost sheep or coin, and to feed His sheep.
Top photo by Richard van Schalkwyk