13 July 2008

Teaching, No Greater Call

I teach Sunday School. To teenagers. Boys and girls, every other week. Now, I don't have the stereotypical Chatty Patties and Silent Simons. I have Chatty Charlies and Reverent Romildas. So when I walked in today to discover two extra boys visiting from out of town, I was naturally overwhelmed with frustration joy. Luckily, the lesson was entitled Controlling our Anger, so having diligently prepared my lesson, I knew what to do with myself when the boys talked through nearly the entire lesson. The guests were surprisingly well-behaved, and contributed in a positive way. The normal boys, however, are causing me to doubt my firm assumption that men cannot multitask, because they can somehow miraculously do this:

Me: What did I just say?
The Guilty Parties: Repeat exactly what I just said for the last thirty seconds while they were busily chatting amongst themselves.

I can only conclude that teenagers can pay attention and not be quiet at the same time. Women can pay attention and be quiet at the same time. We are skilled in so many ways.

Here are some tips on controlling your anger, straight from the Sunday School Manual, with my practical advice following:

1. Talk it out. "Chatty Charlie, I'm trying to end on a spiritual note and you are interrupting me!" (Yes, I actually said that, in addition to interrupting one of my students while he told a totally irrelevant story and saying, "I'm going to continue the lesson since what you're saying has nothing to do with controlling anger." I really like this whole talk it out tool.)

2. Wait until you aren't angry any more. Stare at the wall just above their heads until the students are quiet because they are afraid that it is too late and they have incurred your wrath.

3. Pray. Dear Lord, please help me get through to these people and survive the hour with my sanity and without injuring any teenage boys in a fit of rage while teaching a lesson about controlling anger.

4. Exercise. Run away when the lesson is over, and just keep running. Unfortunately, I just had to run down the hall to teach another lesson. Fortunately, it was to the reverent, lovely, participative mothers of the wild bunch, so I didn't have to use my sweet anger management skills any more.


Angie Lewis said...

Wow - sounds like so much fun...thankfully the Relief Society ladies are a little more receptive when I teach...I'll take note of this post for when I teach teenagers though!

SpecialK said...

You were a busy lady today. I enjoyed your lesson. I am glad that RS was more reverent. What do you do with Henry when you have to teach back to back like that?

Jessi said...

What's awful is I remember putting my SS teachers through a very similar nightmare. I imagine someday I'll get paid back.

Hey It's Di said...

I am lucky to have the 17 year old Sunday School class. They are quiet and participate PLUS they are very smart...which can be a bad thing because they are smarter than I am:(

Dansie Family said...

i taught the same lesson. i had to keep using "when sunday school students don't pay attention" as an example of why we may get angry.

Jen said...

SpecialK, Alex takes Henry while I teach. He just gets to have a nice vent when he gets home about how Grace had a stinky and he was carrying like fifty lbs. of stuff all day. He's such a great husband.

And I used the "when you don't pay attention" example also. So effective.

D said...

I teach the turning ten year olds and they are great as long as one of my students is not there. I pray he is on vacation a lot. :) I always try to have an activity where they get up and move around during the lesson(exercise for them :) ) and lots of candy to fill their mouths.

I found you through a comment you left on Hadleyesque. I love your blog roll and feel lucky to know the writers of Hadleyesque and Pots and Pins personally. I met them separately at different stages of my life so they don't know each other. They are even cooler in person than on their blogs. :)

The Rookie said...

Blessings in heaven await you, my dear. If ever there were a class I didn't want to teach--it would be the Sunday School classes anywhere between 12 and 16. I think about how we treated our SS teachers during that time and it was not pretty!