Duce's Wild: 'Come, Follow Me' report card

Published: Saturday, Jan. 11 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

They felt teachers were prepared when they shared videos as part of the lessons and/or brought quotes, stories and clippings from general conference talks for the students to teach to each other. They gave a thumbs-up for weekly goals, personal experiences shared by teachers and when everyone participates in discussions. Almost unanimously they felt loved and served when a teacher brought treats as an offering to “feed the hungry” as well as an enticement for friends and visitors to come to church with them.

I quote from the handwritten addendum:

• Good — I had a teacher who gave every student a portion of the lesson to teach and allowed us to add to the lesson and also gave us materials to use.

• Bad — The teacher basically wrote their own lesson each week

• Bad — Just because the students are supposed to be teaching doesn’t mean you don’t prepare or bring materials.

• Good — When the ratio of the teacher talking and students talking is fairly equal.

• Bad — Thinking that if we just answer questions, it is considered teaching.

• Good — My class was really missionary-themed and allowed us to teach in companionships and learn how to handle sharing the gospel in different situations.

• Good — We had a class goal to work on that week that coordinated with the lesson.

• Good — We had a teacher who gave us food every week (except Fast Sunday).

• Good — Switching up the materials and using videos, scriptures, conference talks, history books and personal experiences.

I considered these teens’ assessments of “Come, Follow Me” to be raving reviews. They appreciate the opportunities to contribute and actively learn rather than be lectured. They want to be challenged and want to be prepared for missionary opportunities. They want to comment thoughtfully and individually rather than merely answering the questions asked. And they want to dig deeper on the topics they learned about last year.

My experience last Sunday teaching all the kids in our ward ages 12 to 18 also reminded me how important it is to split the classes into appropriate age groups. Those just graduating from Primary were less engaged than those high schoolers brave enough to teach and testify. On more than one report card, I found entertaining doodles that included the words, “I don’t understand any of this.”

My 12-year-old son was in my class for the very first time and his only comment was, “Why did we have to write so much? It felt like school.” So more than ever, I am in favor of dividing up age groups in Sunday School wherever possible so that the challenge of gospel learning can be geared appropriately.

To all of my fellow youth teachers across the world, both the inexperienced and the seasoned, I encourage you to embrace and trust the “Come, Follow Me” curriculum. Your students will respond better than you ever imagined and you will be changed as you witness them grow in the gospel.

Stacie Lloyd Duce is a columnist and magazine editor featured regularly in several Montana and Utah publications. Her columns appear Thursdays on deseretnews.com. Email: duceswild7@gmail.com

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