Friday, December 31, 2010

Church Callings

I have to be honest. I am NOT looking forward to my calling this year.

I have been teaching primary since last January. Before we moved here, I didn't have a calling for nearly a whole year. Before that, we taught the same class level out of the same lesson manual in primary. Before that, I was the relief society pianist and before that, I was the ward librarian. You get the drift. My callings have been less than exciting.

I have made up my mind to mostly just endure. Teaching primary is not my favorite calling. You'd think with my teaching experience that I would enjoy it more, but primary is a completely different setting than a public school classroom.

In the classroom, you are expected to set up rules and consequences. You enforce those and weed out bad behavior. You have standards and you have lesson materials and you keep the children engaged and focused. If they seriously act out, you send them to another classroom or the principal. You have conferences with the parents to track their progress and hopefully can expect some support from home.

Why is it in the church that many parents feel that primary is just a place for the kids to be baby-sat? They don't seem to care how well their children behave or even if they do, and they view it as the primary's problem? I know not all parents are like that, but it seems like a lot of them are.

I really don't like sharing time. It's so long and it annoys me how the kids can't sit and be quiet for any of it. We had a great primary presidency in both places that prepared good sharing times, but I noticed that a lot of times, they tell the children to be quiet and then continue on their lesson without actually waiting for the children to quiet down. There are no consequences for loud, noisy primary children, so they continue to be loud and noisy.

This year, my husband and I are supposed to teach in senior primary. The last few times, we've been in junior primary. I am not excited about this at all. I have a hard enough time being with little kids who love and adore you. I really don't want to work with older kids. And I'm quite sad that we won't be in sharing time at the same time as my other children, especially my daughter who is starting sunbeams this year.

And the fact that I will still have to prepare lessons every week because my husband doesn't ever contribute. If I leave it to him to do, he waits until Sunday morning, and I can't handle that. I don't want to show up unprepared.

Some day, I hope to have a calling I am at least enthusiastic about, but maybe that's my lesson. Maybe I will be stuck in primary until I get enthusiastic about it.


NatureGirl said...

I don't think that primary needs to be so different from a public school classroom as far as rules are concerned. Expect them to behave a certain way. And perhaps you could discuss some of the sharing time issues at your next board meeting. Good luck and Happy New Year.

swedemom said...

I've been in the primary presidency in my ward for almost 3 years. It is a hard calling. And I know in the classroom, it is equally difficult. Ironically, as a presidency, our biggest challenge isn't the children (yes, they are rowdy and difficult) but it is the teachers. Most of our reverence problems could be solved with the help of good teachers who came to primary on time, prepared to teach, and are attentive to the students in their classes.
I can assure you that when we get at teacher like that, we don't want to let them go. That is probably why you are still in the primary. I know you are a good teacher.
I think you have every right to set up consequences and discipline in your classroom. Go ahead and set up something that works for you. My son's teacher has this point system that works beautifully. She has the largest primary class, but her students toe the line. Needless to say, we ALL love her. The kids completely adore her.

swedemom said...

I think church, in general, is too long. I think Sacrament meeting goes on for too long. And classes are too long. Sending primary kids to class for 40 minutes is excrutiating. Usually sharing time for me goes down to about 15 minutes. I try to give the chorister more time on music. She is very interactive and fun and the songs are more important anyhow.

I would just love a shorter block of time at church. I am always exhausted after church. I wish I felt more rejuvenated, but I typically feel like I've run a marathon.

One more thought: the second counselor in the primary is the mother to a boy with aspergers. She is AMAZING. We have this class with 4 boys with autism and then 6 other boys. It is our most difficult class. She's been doing behavior lessons every Sunday teaching kids about how to read social cues and such. That has really helped too.

Royalbird said...

A point system sounds interesting. I might have to try that. But I do think you're right. I probably stay in primary as a teacher just because I'm willing and I do try hard to do a good job, even though it's not my favorite. I will probably find that teaching senior primary is great, I just haven't ever done that before. I've always been in junior primary.

Spring said...

As someone who has had nothing but "exciting" callings for 8+ years, it is not all it is cracked up to be. Sharing Time is hard, considering that most parents do feel it's babysitting time and don't care how their kids act. They teach them during sacrament to play with the ipod and other things, so primary is seriously boring to some of the kids. Some teachers make sure their class is reverent, some don't. Some take serious offense if I try to help them, some take serious offense if I don't. There are dozens of people who are unwilling to help, or tell us that they "need" to go to relief society. There is constant criticism from people who feel I am doing it wrong and that they would do it different, do it better. I have learned that a good attitude changes everything. If somebody else thinks they can do my calling better, be my guest. They are more than welcome to tell the bishop they can do a better job. For myself, I know that I am doing the absolute best job I can, and that is acceptable to God. Nobody else's opinion matters to me anymore, because there is just no pleasing everyone. I was terrified to do Primary, but I really love it now because I changed my attitude. I chose to see the children as Christ does, and to try to teach them as he would. I learned that it is a choice to love your calling or to not. If you make up your mind to find the good parts of the calling and focus less on the bad, you might find you enjoy it. The church is perfect, the people in it are not.

swedemom said...

Teaching Senior Primary doesn't seem as difficult because the kids are older and are more engaged in the lessons. Also, you wouldn't believe the difference when the kids go to Senior primary. Sharing time is a breeze and is great. I love Senior Primary! You'll be teaching from the New Testament this year, so that will be cool.

Walter's class with the amazing teacher has a point system. They get points for bringing their scriptures, participating, being reverent, etc. If they don't, they lost points or don't get points. When everyone in the class gets 100 points, they have a class party.
Walter's teacher is a schoolteacher and utilizes her teaching methods in primary. She also monitors them in opening exercises and sharing time, so they get points then too. The kids are all invested in the points, so they all try and work hard.


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