You knew it was inevitable. Within weeks of joining a family ward, I was assigned to corrupt the youth. Okay, not actually assigned–apparently I "volunteered" to teach early morning Seminary, and let’s just say that no one has actually prescribed corruption. We’ll see what happens.
In all honesty and all BCC snark aside, the person most afraid of "corrupting" these kids is me. I’m feeling a tremendous sense of responsibility. Everyone who knows that I’ll be teaching Seminary has, at some point, related to me their very vivid memories of Seminary; whether that experience was positive and spiritual, or rather a negative stumbling block in their spiritual progression. The point is, they all remember. They remember the crazy things that their teachers said, they remember the lessons they learned, they remember feeling the spirit, they remember being included or marginalized. They remember Seminary. For good or ill, Seminary has been a tremendous formative experience in many church members’ lives. I want for these kids to have the most positive, the most supportive, the most spiritually uplifting, the most helpful Seminary experience possible. And frankly, I’m overwhelmed.
One hour a day. That’s a lot of time. That is more time than they spend with scout masters or young women’s leaders. Honestly, that is probably more time, per day, discussing spiritual matters than they’ll spend with their parents. I’m being asked to be a surrogate parent here, a spiritual aide to their families. But, there is also something precious about this time. Only one hour before they get sent off into rough and tumbly, often demeaning, teenager-land. I get them before they get to high school. I get to pray with them and sing a hymn, and talk about the scriptures, and hopefully, hopefully help them feel the spirit. Then they get worn down with stress and worry and school and friends and gossip and activities and hard, hard teenage drama. Then I get them again the next morning.
I know I need to love them. That’s clearly the first order of business here. But that’s not the hard part…I already love them. Apparently that innate love and concern came with the job. I’m more concerned about maximizing those precious hours I have. I have some lesson plan ideas forming, but want all the input I can get. I want your good memories and experiences and ideas. We’re studying the Book of Mormon this year. I want them to feel the fire I felt during my freshman year at BYU when I first really grasped the Book of Mormon. I want them to love it, and know it well enough to turn to it for comfort and guidance.
What Book of Mormon lessons do you remember? What teaching techniques are particularly useful in working with teenagers? What activities are manageable, but useful in elucidating the meaning behind stories: a Lehi’s dream art extravaganza? a King Benjamin write your own speech-fest? A get your mission call along with the sons of Mosiah? Day to day, how can you get the kids to respond to the text? Are they too young for the socratic method? Is journal writing time useful? What are your ideas?