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Prepare by looking back

Prepare by looking back

It’s the middle of July and in about six weeks, Sunday Church School at your parish may already be underway, or getting ready to begin another year.  There are many things to do to prepare: look at new resources, sort out the calendar of events, make sure all the supplies are in stock, start making announcements to families about registration, volunteering with certain events, and organizing the teachers and classes.  There are plenty of things to do to prepare.

But part of preparation should also include reflection on last year’s program. A question I’ve been asking a lot lately is “How do you know that your program is being effective?” At a personal level, the question is “How effective have you been?” 

Here’s a straightforward checklist of “Did I” questions that could help you reflect on last year and your work as a religious educator. (I have to confess I'm borrowing it from an article I saw in another magazine). It’s a tool that helps you review you. Each question should help you think about your efforts, consider how the year went, and give you the chance to say to yourself, “well done” and “need some work.” 

  • Did I pray for my students, my student’s families, my fellow teachers, my fellow parishioners, for our Church?
  • Did I strive to build meaningful relationships with my students and their families?
  • Did I communicate with the parents of my students, sharing with them the goals of the class, trying to offer ways to bring the lesson home?
  • Did I show my respect for my students by being as well prepared as I could be for every class meeting?
  • Did I keep the learning space inviting, colorful, showing off student work?
  • Did I observe the Feasts and Fasts of the Church in the classroom?
  • Did I spend time with other teachers and my priest, learning from one another?
  • Did I learn from my mistakes?
  • Did I have fun, enjoyed being a teacher?
  • Did I grow in my knowledge of the Orthodox Faith and the practice of its Way of Life?

Spend some time in prayerful self-reflection as part of your preparation. Look back before you look ahead.

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