I have been a children teacher in my church, Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim (one of Africa’s oldest indigenous churches) since 2017. If it was something that demanded celebration, I think I should be counting an anniversary as at this time. In my church, there is an annual children thanksgiving that takes place every second weekend of October. This celebration features series of competitions, including quiz, debate and essay competitions amongst various categories.
That particular year, everything seemed to be heading towards failure. I then took it upon myself that it would be different. We did come close on two occasions. Coming second place in one and fourth on the other. We didn’t win any, but we came close. Then came the second year, we did struggle but this time, we were also rans again. It was painful, but we were now a force to reckon with. By the third year, we emerged victorious on so many events and finally winning the overall first position. It was really a sweet moment. We were gearing up for more of it, before the pandemic suspended the whole jamboree that came with the annual thanksgiving.
Now, as someone who had been in the department before then, I think I had some experience or knowledge of where my teachers failed. I discovered personally, that people didn’t like a perfect preacher. They also enjoyed real life stories aside the bible. All these I employed in the teens class, and another thing I did was to crack a few jokes here and then. But one thing I learnt is, you have to make sure you avoid shaming them. You also have to know a thing or two about motivating teenage students. Also know there are various teaching methods for teenagers and also for younger children. Most tips I employ to teach teenagers can be found here.
Initially, I feared teaching the younger classes. I felt I would not be able to come to their terms. I felt even my knowledge on types of teachers would not be able to help. As I would totally need a whole different teaching methods for nursery class. I knew I needed to be friends with them, and at the same time be respected by them. There had to a measure, a balance between love and being stern.
Without enough pictures, I had to revert to a style I can not ever forget that was used to preach the story of David and Goliath to me, while in junior secondary school. This was a story I had heard numerous times, but it seemed like this day I was hearing it fo the first time. Moreso, it seemed like the preacher, Pastor Dave Onyekwere, was a witness to the event, he narrated it like he stood and watched David and Goliath. He, Pastor Dave Onyekwere of Seventh-Day Adventist Church, was the principal of my school then, Adventist Comprehensive High School, Elele; here in Rivers State, Nigeria. He made us wish he taught us everyday.
So this method of his, was one I employed as my teaching method for children. I enjoyed how I grabbed all of their attention. Though, the children department in a church seems to be peripheral and less important. But people fail to know that most times, failed adulthood is as a result of improper childhood; and unlike the adult section, the children department is the only place where you have the minds of people, highly receptive of the teachings you feed them.
One sad perk of being a children teacher in the church, is that, to every child you are their hero. A pastor could make wrong utterances or mistakes and people would understand that he is a human, but to the child, you are a hero with no chink in your armour.
Paul Chikaike Kalu alias Paul Kay is a prolific writer of prose, poetry, and articles; a content creator, a guest columnist on magazines and blogs, a copywriter with huge experience in ghost writing. A member of Association of Nigerian Authors. Author of THE VISIT, (his first published work on paperback) now on Amazon and on Okadabooks. You can reach out to him on firstname.lastname@example.org