For the last month, every other Sunday, I have been teaching my Sunday School class, because the regular teacher volunteered to do something with the children. I was somewhat surprised to be asked to substitute teach (actually, I was volunteered).
I will admit that I am loquacious in class, sharing other Scriptures and answering questions. There is another black female in the class, and between the two of us, we do the most talking, except for the teacher. The reason why seems to be cultural, with white women more likely to remain quiet during the class.
Yet, I love my Sunday School class and have started to be comfortable.I have seen the same phenomenon in my college classes, with black students more likely to answer questions and relate their stories than white students.
I don’t really know the reason for the difference, but yesterday in the morning service, the pastor asked what was the first of the five reasons Jesus came to earth. He had preached the sermon on the topic the week before.
When no one answered, I felt compelled to do so, for I didn’t want him to think his labor was in vain. He even stated the first letter of the answer, and not one person stirred, not even Douglas, who is a scholar. Although self-conscious as the only black person in the service, I hollered out the answer, and he was so thankful! I am glad I got it right!
In the black church, you have call and response, so I am accustomed to people answering the preacher when he asks, “Can I get an amen?” or says, “Tell your neighbor, ‘Neighbor, God is with you!'” Nearly everyone answers, and the same happens in Sunday School class in black churches.
So, I am adapting to a new culture, and teaching the wonderful women in the 50 and over class is great fun! I gave a handout on the Sundays I teach, mostly a reflection of my being a teacher. My soul soars as I teach. I’ll be silent until someone answers.
I inquire about Scriptures that have sustained them in times of trials and troubles. I use humor to tell stories to highlight that biblical characters were human just like us. I want them to feel free to agree or disagree with me, letting it all hang out, as we used to say!
They tell me that they love it when I teach. It’s so different from what they are accustomed to experiencing. For me, teaching is in interaction between teacher and students, with knowledge being obtained in both directions. I need them to talk, as we are in this together, sharing a love for Jesus and helping each other know Him better.
So, next Sunday will be my last time teaching, as the regular teaching is returning. But, to say that I have had a ball is an understatement. When I am a student, the world is kind of like in pastel colors, all light and calm. But when I teach, life becomes a symphony of bold colors, as my passion imbues every word. I love it, or as one of my grandbabies would say, “I jove it.” My soul seems to catch fire!