Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Seminary Changes

This past week while I was traveling in Utah, the other seminary teacher who teaches the younger class agreed to sub for me. She only has about 4 active seminary students, 5 on a good day. I have 9-10 active. Before I left, I kept thinking that maybe we should consider merging our classes, but I wasn't sure how to bring up the subject. After I came home, she called me and said, "We need to talk about seminary." After having my kids all week, she really felt like we should merge. The kids made a lot of comments such as, "We should do this all the time." Also, it's much easier in a teaching situation to have too large of a class as opposed to too small of a class. It's hard to have discussions with only a handful of kids, but in addition, hers are very quiet by nature, so class discussions were difficult for her. Sometimes we have them break off in to groups to do things. But with only 4 students, that was difficult for her class. On Fridays we have scripture mastery activities. With only 4 kids, that wasn't very fun for their class. So we have decided that at least for the rest of the school year, we will try this. I think next year our classes will be too large to do this, but we both feel it is needed now.

Nene mentioned before that she always had a team teacher when she taught seminary. They would rotate teaching during the week, usually teaching two days a week. This teacher and I didn't feel comfortable with that situation, so we have agreed to rotate by the week. I am teaching this week, and she will teach next week. The way the lessons are set up, it's sometimes difficult to finish an assigned lesson in one day. If I were teaching alone, I would just finish that part up the next day. But if another teacher will be teaching the next day, that makes it awkward for her to have to try to make up the missing parts. Rotating by the week gives us some flexibility so that if needed we can even teach on Friday if needed. But our expectation is that we will finish the week's worth of lessons by the time the next teacher takes over.

Another thing we have opted to do is have only one teacher in attendance at a time. I think this is good for a couple of different reasons. If one teacher tends to have control issues, or be opinionated about how something should be taught or done, then it might be an awkward situation for the person who is teaching. There might also be pressure to "perform" for the other teacher. In the case of me and this companion teacher, we have very different teaching styles. She tends to be very regimented, and I tend to be very laid back. She tends to discipline strictly, and I tend to discipline humourously. I'm not saying either way is better than the other, it's just a difference in style, and both styles work. But I don't think they would work simultaneously. To make sure we are keeping up with what is taught, both teachers will continue to read the lesson material, even when it isn't their turn to teach. This helps us know what has been covered.

I actually think the kids might like this too. They don't have to listen to the same teacher all the time, and can get a variety of teaching styles. They have more fun in the long run because there is more class participation. There might be problems arise that I can't forsee, but I think this will work.


Lindsay Logic said...

I think it will be a good thing for the kids and for you. Good luck! Seminary is all about having the right teaching method. It really is!

Nene said...

I wouldn't worry about your teaching styles OR your displinary methods. Just do what you want. It's kind of like parents. You do both need to agree on maybe some basic rules, but it should be an agreement, not just bending to her.

Also, as far as the lessons go - I'll tell you what my CES director said to us. We had a lot of teachers who would get behind because they were spending more than one day on a lesson. My CES director told us not to worry about thinking that we had to teach every single thing. He reminded us that this wasn't the only time these kids would learn this information. I do think you have to go by the Spirit too, but just remember that they're probably not absorbin half the info you're trying to cram into their heads anyway.

kimmyannangel said...

We, too, team teach with 28 active kids grades 9-12. They tried splitting our class years ago and the students hated it. However, we divide teaching by each of us doing two lessons/week. That way we don't get behind and we know we need to finish the most important things that day. I teach Mon/Wed, she does Tues/Thurs and we have guest speakers on Friday. Works like a charm. But, we always both go to class. We find it so beneficial to both be there, one of us teaching and the other being the eyes and ears. I don't interfere with her lessons and she doesn't mine, but I think it's good to be there with the students every day, otherwise you lose your grip on what's going on in their lives. That's what works best for us.