March 12-14 I attended a Renaissance Module training on Teacher Development. The core text is Parker Palmer's The Courage to Teach (isn't funny how once you "discover" an author, he or she keeps cropping up around you?).
It has me wanting to re-think the whole way we "do" religious education or what we call in my congregation faith development. Right now I work with teaching teams of six-seven members and I love that I have teaching teams that teach the whole year. The problem is that with everyone only teaching about once, maybe twice, a month there is no consistency for our children. We know the importance of having one key person in nursery that really knows the children and knows the parents. We know the importance of this in youth ministry as we often hire a youth minister to provide that consistent presence. Yet we leave all the kids in the middle with a new teacher almost every week and since many of the kids only coming once or twice a month, it is like starting over every week.
In the module we talked about a small group ministry model for teaching. Small groups of 4 or so meeting together to talk not about schedules or who is teaching next but about their lives, their hopes, their fears. What might it look like to have teaching teams of 4 people that were a small group ministry who not every week but maybe every month, met just to talk about their own lives, how it is with their own souls? Could this make teaching a true ministry? How might this transform the lives of our children, our families, our teachers and finally our congregation? I know there are many practical obstacles to overcome and yet the dream remains!