I’ve been working with the younger kids at church ever since I volunteered. I was an aide for a year, helping out with the Pre-K to 1st grade class before being promoted to full-fledged Sunday School teacher two years ago. However, we have a new Religious Education Co-ordinator and I’ve been given a “promotion” to work this fall with 4th and 5th graders instead. I haven’t decided yet whether I’m happy or sad about this change.
We’ve never had much in the way of deep discussions. We did manage to sit all together in a circle most Sundays and talk about something good and something bad. We came up with fun games that had some modicum of educational value and there were a few times I feel we did accomplish something towards one of our seven principles of UU-ism. However, there were a lot of Sundays where I felt less like a teacher and more a babysitter.
I knew where I stood with the younger kids. I teach adults and find they give me very little direction on how the course is going until the end when they fill out the surveys. I’ve never had that trouble in Sunday School; the kids tell you exactly what’s on their minds. I also had the advantage of actually once having a child of that age, so I knew what to expect.
I don’t know any 4th or 5th graders personally and I only vaguely remember being one. I am excited like I was when I first volunteered, but I’m nervous too… also like when I first volunteered. The teachers will all probably get together some Saturday morning in September before the education track starts again. I’ll pick the brains of the former 4th and 5th grade teachers while dispensing what wisdom I can to the people replacing me at the lower level. But – ultimately – when that first Sunday comes this fall, it will be uncharted territory.