working with a teaching team

Although we all love teaching, each one of us knows that there’s a lot more to our work than the act of teaching itself. More often than not, a children’s class teacher “runs” the class, taking responsibility for planning lessons, organizing the classroom, coordinating schedules, arranging space for classes and transportation for children, communicating with and visiting parents and families, and much more. As much as we learn during our training, we usually don’t get a chance to practice putting together these supporting nuts and bolts of a class until we get “in the field”.

One thing that’s for sure is: it’s always easier teaching with a team. The members of a team are able to support one another, consult and reflect together, and complement each other’s skills and abilities. One person might be better at making phone calls and getting in touch with parents, while another might be better at arranging lesson plans. If one teacher gets sick or has a commitment to honour, another one can step in to make sure things keep going smoothly. If disruptive behaviour arises, or if certain children need extra help, one teacher can keep the class going while the other handles the situation.

Among the top concerns we hear from teachers of children’s classes is that there simply aren’t enough of them to go around—teachers, that is. “We have enough older children to start a new class,” we might hear, “but there aren’t any more teachers.” “I need a co-teacher, but all of our teachers are busy.” Sometimes, this is just a reflection of the strength of the institute process in an area—not enough people are being trained up to Ruhi Book 3 and accompanied into the field of service. Good relations with your local coordinators is key to solving these kinds of problems; one phone call might be all it takes to start a training session in Book 3, for example, and this could result in a number of new teachers becoming available.

Sometimes, all the Bahá’ís in our area have been trained, but they’re all busy with other, different paths of service—animating junior youth groups, coordinating study circles, and so on. In these cases, it’s useful for us to remember that Bahá’ís are not the only people capable of, or suited for, service. Parents and family members are often the most deeply concerned with the education and welfare of children in their family, and can become active and dedicated helpers—especially youth, who are so full of energy, vitality and the will to make their mark on the world. As we make deeper connections with the people who live in our neighbourhoods, we can learn how to speak about our path of service and learn how to engage receptive souls and invite them to walk the same path.


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