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Teacher Appreciation

During Teacher Appreciation Month at our church, we recognized the teachers for their sacrifice and dedication in meeting the needs of our children. Each Sunday we surprised them with something new.

*First Sunday-We gave them a teacher's pin with a verse telling how important they are to God.

*Second Sunday-We gave them gifts (all under $2) with notes attached to each of the wrapped items. For example, for a PayDay candy bar the note read "What a payday you'll have in heaven."

*Third Sunday-Kids gave the teachers thank-you letters for being such great teachers. We wrote letters to children asking them to write a letter to their teacher but to keep it a secret. Then children sent their letters to the church the week before. We delivered the letters to the teachers during Sunday school. Our teachers were so pleased to get these letters!

*Fourth Sunday-During our worship service, we gave a slide presentation showing the teachers interacting with the children. We also used this as a tool to recruit more volunteers.

*Fifth Sunday-The pastor recognized the teachers during the Sunday services. The teachers stood as the congregation applauded them.

The teachers have commented how loved and appreciated they felt during this month. Many of them are now planning to continue to teach because of their renewed enthusiasm.

Melina Rabon
Covington, Louisiana

Affirm your teachers with this melodic idea. Play symphonic music as teachers arrive for your next teacher-training meeting. As an opener, ask them to tell which instrument they are most like as they teach. For example, someone may say, "I'm like a flute because I quietly share God's beautiful truth." Or someone may say, "I'm a big bass drum because I like lots of loud activity as kids learn."

Give each person a Symphony candy bar. Say: When we all work together, we create our own symphony and make beautiful music for our Lord.

Rachel Brand
Ventura, California

To support and appreciate our teachers, we've set aside a room on Sundays just for teachers. In this room, we have

*Coffee and juice;
*Light snacks, such as muffins;
*A Bible verse to encourage or challenge teachers;
*Resource information such as a brochure on parenting, an encouraging article, or helpful teaching ideas for future lessons. I make sure there's something new and different to keep them checking back each week; and
*Me! While this room reminds the teachers that our church values their ministry, there's nothing more beneficial to teachers than a personal relationship with the children's pastor. I spend time in the room getting to know teachers better.

Mark Green
Memphis, Tennessee

Evaluations are an important and integral part of a successful ministry. With this easy-to-use checklist, you can successfully help your volunteers become superior teachers.

Give evaluations once or twice a year. As you observe teachers, remain objective. After the observation, set up a one-to-one meeting with the teacher in an area free of distractions.

Go over each item and explain your evaluation. Ask the teacher to tell you how he or she feels about each item. Suggest several ways the volunteer can grow in any weak areas. Ask the teacher to choose a plan for improvement.

Note: Be generous with praise and focus on the positive. However, make sure you give each volunteer at least one tangible thing to work on to become a better teacher.

Circle the number that applies (1=needs improvement and 5=outstanding).

The teacher
arrives early to prepare the room. 1 2 3 4 5
prepares well. 1 2 3 4 5
begins teaching when the first child
arrives. 1 2 3 4 5
pays attention to each child. 1 2 3 4 5
praises children for their efforts as well
as their achievements. 1 2 3 4 5
lovingly maintains classroom discipline. 1 2 3 4 5
participates in activities with enthusiasm. 1 2 3 4 5
tells the lesson in an interesting way. 1 2 3 4 5
provides hands-on activities to
reinforce objectives. 1 2 3 4 5
gives advance notice when absent. 1 2 3 4 5
cooperates with other teachers. 1 2 3 4 5
cleans the room when class is over. 1 2 3 4 5

Diane Owen
Pueblo, Colorado

Tired of having all the recruiting fall square on your shoulders? Try this self-propagating teacher recruitment plan. In nine months, your teachers can do the recruiting for you and train new teachers on the job.

Ask teachers to make a nine-month commitment. Each quarter, establish these goals for teachers:

*First quarter-The lead teacher looks for gifted people in the congregation who may have untapped talents for the children's ministry. The lead teacher encourages at least one other person to help him or her teach in the next quarter.

*Second quarter-The two teach together, with the lead teacher maintaining primary responsibility and assigning parts of the lesson to the team teacher. The team teacher recruits an assistant who can help out in the next quarter.

*Third quarter-The team teacher takes over the responsibilities of the lead teacher. The lead teacher leads parts of the lesson as assigned by the team teacher.

*Fourth quarter-The original lead teacher takes a break. The team teacher becomes the lead teacher. And the assistant becomes the team teacher. The process starts all over again.

What about the original lead teacher when the break is over and he or she is ready to teach again? Plug that person into another class and start the process again.

Copyright© Group Publishing, Inc. / Children's Ministry Magazine

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