Welcome to a continuing series of tips on working with large groups of children. I hope that you will find these tips useful and be able to implement them in your dealings with large groups of kids. If you do, please leave a comment and let us know. For a complete list of posts in this series, please see the index page. So, without further introduction, here is today’s installment.
With a large group of kids (or a small one), you will eventually figure out that it is impossible to fake your way through it. They are very astute and will eventually figure you out. You can’t be someone God hasn’t made you to be. Of all the lessons I have learned in working with kids, this one took me the longest to really comprehend. When it came to doing large group teaching, I wanted to be like teachers I had looked up to as a kid or other teacher’s whose styles I admired or authors whom I had read. While all three of these sources can be great inspiration for ideas and tactics, in the end you have to be yourself. If your lesson doesn’t fit your style and your personality, the kids will see right through it and it won’t seem real. If your teaching doesn’t seem real, how will they accept that your relationship with Christ is real?
At my church, we use a pre-purchased curriculum from a well known organization. Personally, I happen to think they do great job of planning out the curriculum from a big picture stand point and offering a great weekly lesson. In the beginning, I tried to make sure that I touched on every point from the weekly lesson, and oftentimes I stumbled on the delivery because I wanted to make sure I got the wording right or didn’t forget anything. I was so focused on making sure that I didn’t miss something small that I sometimes missed out on the really big things. I was so concerned with it being perfect that I lost sight of the bigger goal – telling these kids about Christ. After some time, I realized a couple of things:
- I wasn’t being me in presenting the lesson.
- By trying to fit me into the lesson rather than tailoring the lesson to my style, I was making myself uncomfortable and not doing an optimal job of presenting the lesson. In the end in trying to be “perfect” I was moving further and further in the other direction.
- This wasn’t going to work unless I learned to take the lesson and make it mine.
After a month or so, I knew I needed to make some changes. As I started to approach each week’s curriculum more as a set of ideas than a script, I got a lot more comfortable with the teaching. Rather than trying to take someone else’s delivery and copy it, I took their ideas and worked it into my style of presenting. Since then, I’ve noticed that the kids seem to be getting a lot more out of each, and I’m having a lot more fun presenting the lessons. I’ve learned that if the lesson doesn’t work for you, it will never work for them.