Veteran presenters describe challenges and rewards of BYU Education Week

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

Borrowing the words of the late LDS Church President Harold B Lee, Christensen said another challenge is teaching so well that students do not misunderstand.

“At BYU Education Week, we have to be very careful of what we say, and even in the way we say it.”

Generating new topics and titles after 20 years is a tough task for Prince.

“However, I feel up to the challenge because I love it so much.”

For Boyack, it’s having enough time to attend other classes.

“I adore going to the classes, but it’s really hard when you teach because you don’t have time,” Boyack said.

What is the highlight of Education Week for you as a presenter?

Among the highlights, each presenter relished the chance to meet people both young and old.

“It touches my heart. You can feel the love of the Saints sitting before you. They want you to succeed. We can become one with each other and the Lord,” Christensen said. “Most of all I look forward to my wife’s reaction to my teaching. Her evaluation counts.”

For Olson, another highlight is finding out if what he teaches his regular students at BYU is realistic or not.

“Education Week becomes a laboratory for me to measure whether my ideas are realistic and applicable to people in the midst of raising families, serving in the church, and seeking to do right in their professional and personal lives,” Olson said. “I’m less interested in presenting facts than I am in helping people answer the questions, ‘What is the meaning of this?’ ‘How is this practical?’

Describe your overall experience with Education Week. What keeps you coming back?

Spiritual experiences keep Prince and other presenters coming back.

“I have had some of the sweetest spiritual experiences as I have prepared and taught at Education Week,” she said. “I have also felt that this is a way I can thank the Lord for his outpouring of blessings in my life.”

Olson returns because “if he had nothing else to learn, then he would have nothing else to teach.”

“I learn from the audience responsiveness, from their questions, and from my preparation to deliver something meaningful,” Olson said. “I’ve discovered that if the material is meaningful to me, there is a great chance it will be meaningful to them.”

Christensen keeps coming back because Education Week lifts his spirit and makes him want to be a better man, husband, father and teacher.

How has presenting at Education Week blessed your life and strengthened your faith in the gospel?

Boyack said Education Week first impacted her life when she was a student at BYU in 1976. On a day when she was feeling homesick and depressed, she happened by a class and sat in the back for the final 15-20 minutes. As she listened her heart was touched by the speaker’s message.

“It was almost as if a conduit from heaven showed down on me. It changed my life so profoundly, that lesson I learned from that man in a few minutes literally affected the rest of my life,” Boyack said. “Speaking became a passion for me because I wanted to help other people the way I was helped in that class. That’s why I started presenting. To be able to experience things in my life and then turn around and share them with other people helps me grow and improve, it helps others, we all learn together and it’s a terrific growth experience that has blessed me for many years.”

Olson agrees.

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