Do you remember a favorite teacher from your past? It may have been in a Bible class or at school, but most of us remember a teacher who made a difference in our lives. What do you remember about the person? Did he or she make the subject matter so much fun that you were eager to learn more? Did he or she make you feel special and loved while in the class? Did he or she have high expectations for you and instill the belief that you could do anything?
Let’s take a look at some of the qualities that I believe we should possess that make us the best Bible teachers that we can be.
The most important characteristic of a great Bible class teacher is that they are a faithful Christian who loves God, the church and the children. We need to be sure that we are being the right kind of example to our students in actions and in words. We should always speak highly of the church and its leaders in front of the children. Whether we realize it or not, they are watching us and listening to what we say (both in and out of our classrooms).
We need to know and love our subject matter. You cannot teach what you do not know. Study and prepare for your lessons. When you are asked a question that you don’t know, be honest and say that you don’t know, but will look for the answers.
We need to understand children, how they think, and how they learn. Children are NOT miniature adults and shouldn’t be treated as such. The apostle Paul even acknowledged that when he said in 1 Corinthians 13:11 that when he was a child, he spoke, understood, and thought like a child. Know how children learn and use that to your advantage.
Have a sense of humor! You will make mistakes, so learn to laugh at yourself. Your children will say some of the funniest things, so learn to laugh and enjoy them. Kids love it when you are really excited and enthusiastic about something. While teaching God’s word is serious business, we should approach it with joy and excitement!
Be punctual, dependable, and prepared. You need to get to class early enough to greet your children as they come in and have all materials ready to go. If you don’t, you will have missed opportunities with students, have more discipline problems, and like it or not, teach children that class isn’t that high of a priority to you. You also need preparation. You cannot “wing it” and expect to have a great Bible class.
Be patient and self controlled. Children can be difficult and sometimes we may be coming to class not feeling the best or having had a difficult day. But regardless of how frustrated you may feel when you walk in that door, put on your happy face and never lose your temper with your students.
Show love to your students. It has been said that, “a person may not remember what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel”. Let’s be the kind of Bible class teachers that as children grow into adults, we will be remembered as a teacher who taught them the love and excitement for learning God’s word and that they always felt loved and valued when they walked in our door!