I think I’m going to die, literally. I know when too. It’s going to be this Sunday and it’s going to be in one of two places. The first place it could happen is right after the teacher in Sunday School asks us why we think it would be a good idea to have prayer in our lives. The second place it could happen is in relief society right after the teacher says, “Ok, who has quote number three?”
This is how it’s going to happen. First, my eyes will get a glazed and far away look in them. Second, my jaw will drop and slacken slightly. Finally, my heartbeat will slow; thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump…thump…thump………..nothing. Then I will start heading to the light where there will only be padded chairs, great organists, and fascinating teachers at church.
I know that it’s rude of me to criticize the teaching skills of good people who didn’t actively seek out the position of teacher and are probably doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. I know this but I’m still frustrated that church tends to be an exercise in boredom the vast majority of the time.
Lately it feels like it’s been a little worse than usual and it’s caused me to ponder what it is that makes a teacher good or bad. I don’t really want to talk about what makes a teacher bad, that’s too easy. What I want to discuss is what makes a teacher good. Here are a few examples in my life:
The first really great teacher that I know is my husband. Really, I’m not just saying this to get brownie points he is very interesting and engaging when he teaches a lesson at church. Geoff is charismatic, has usually done a lot of research, and tries to present the material from new and different perspectives. This is a good combination.
The next teacher that I really enjoyed was a sociology professor at BYU. I can’t remember his name but the reason I like him was because he was very open with us about experiences in his own life. One of my favorite stories from the class is about a family home evening he had with his wife and children. They were talking about their favorite things and he told his family that his favorite thing to do was roll around naked with his wife. I thought that was amusing.
Another great teacher I had was Mr. Harrison for World Historical Problems. He would do things like dress up as Rasputin and tell us all about Czarist Russia. We also learned about British Parliament by each taking a role and running our own parliament in class. We held a Middle East Peace Conference where we go nothing accomplished. It was a very stimulating class.
Then there was Mr Hansen my high school writing/lit teacher. He was a happy many who taught us to keep digging inside ourselves for something better. I have to say that I really didn’t appreciate him like I should have until my adult years.
I think my favorite teacher of all was Mr Webb my Marine Biology teacher. Not only did he teach us about clams and squid but he taught us how to laugh. When describing the anatomy of sea life he would always use memorable terms that high schoolers wouldn’t soon forget. For instance he would always refer to the colon as the “poop shoot” it’s a phrase I use to this day. He would let us play Jeopardy on Fridays if we got our work done and the class was allowed to kick any fellow student out of the class who was acting like a dork. You knew you were in trouble when the class started chanting “Get out! Get out!” at you. It was great!
I know that the majority of teachers I talk about here are people who chose to teach as a profession and have had training to become better teachers. Most church members have had no training and are doing the best they can. I want to become a better teacher myself so I’m asking you to think back on the teachers you have loved and tell me what made them so memorable to you.