Good primary teachers are hard to find

I have to admit, J used to hate church. We would battle all morning about going to church. He would cry, throw his clothes away from him, refused to get dressed, and scream, "I hate church! I don't want to go!" all the way there in the car. He would squirm in Sacrament meeting, he would ask loudly to go home, and he would insist that he didn't want to go to Primary. In short, it was a nightmare. And then, we moved. Today, he sat, just SAT, in a his seat during Sacrament meeting. We had no fight getting him there, even though he was playing on the computer when I got him dressed, which means he had to give up his beloved Nick JR.com games to go to church. No screams about primary, just a perfectly behaved little kid. What's the deal? I thought. Is he just growing up? Then I met his new Sunbeam teacher, and the light dawned. The first Sunday, J handed me a full sized painting of himself. You know, the kind where you lay out a huge thing of butcher paper, trace the kid's whole body, and then let him color everything else in. I'm sure she tied it into some basic doctrine like, "God made our bodies". J was thrilled. Today, I caught a glimpse of her classroom, and she had put a giant Noah's ark, in that same butcher paper, up on the wall, and the kids had drawn the necessary items to the story--the rain, the clouds, the animals, the water, etc, etc. Truly, it looked like something even I would have hours of pleasure doing. Last Sunday, J handed me a paper sack full of "treasures": Rocks, bits of bark, an oak leaf, and some dirt he had clearly gotten on a little walk around the chapel. Again, he was thrilled, and kept that grubby little bag for days before he let me return the treasures back to the earth. My gratitude for this new teacher knows no bounds. I've told her what a difference she has made in our lives, and she just shrugged, poo-poohed it, and said that J is a great kid who is a joy to have in her class. Truly, she does not know how her preparedness, her effort, and her love have changed my son's entire attitude about church. We owe this woman a lot. So if any of you out there teach the Sunbeams, and you think it's sort of a lame calling, please know that there are desperate parents out there who need your skills, your dedication, and your presence as we give to you our young children and put their spiritual education, or at least their spiritual attention span, into your hands. I used to think the RS was where it's at, but now I know that truly, the Lord needs His very best people in the primary. So thanks to all of you hard working primary people, and thanks to the Bishops who realize that primary is not a throw-away calling. Our kids deserve the very, very best.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I myself have a son that was less-than-excited about primary and who is a bit of a handfull. His Sunbeam teacher loves him and in turn he loves to be with her. I call her his angel. I think She was divinely called at this time to help my son love church. In my opinion, working with these young ones is the most noble of callings.

7/03/2006 12:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Mel said...

What an awesome sunbeam teacher. I've taught sunbeams before and now I feel lame because I wasn't nearly as cool as that!

7/03/2006 12:44:00 AM  
Anonymous tracy m said...

The best calling I ever had was teaching Jr. Primary. I know I learned more than the kids did each week. I loved it.

By the way, Jeffrey brought home that very same life-size picture of himself on butcher paper, and we live on the other coast from you! It must've been in the manual that week or something, but he totally dug it too!

7/03/2006 03:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Floyd the Wonderdog said...

My wife and I team taught the Stars for a million years when we were in Orem. You know, "They're just college students, transients. Put them in Primary." These kids must have been starved for male attention. They flocked around me. The Primary kids would obey me even when they wouldn't pay the slightest attention to the Primary President. They fought to get to sit by me in Sharing Time. A good man, who cares about thekids can have a great impact.

I went to sharing tme with my grandson last week. He was being fractious and I didn't want to subject the Primary to more Willy than necessary. The teachers acted as though they were in a different part of the building. The kids were allowed to run around and act up. The teachers didn't even notice. I settled the worst of them down with a few well placed "Daddy's not happy with the way you are acting" glances. The Primary Presidency were out in the hall most of the time and left the chorister to run the show.

7/03/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

I think the best Primary teacher my kids had (I'm still reeling from the fact that my youngest just turned 12, and we have no more kids in Primary) was Sister Brown. She was an older retired lady. I don't know if she made class fun or interesting. But I know that she loved my kids and did things for them beyond just in the classroom, and they loved her for it. She was an angel.

My husband is probably the best teacher in our primary right now. A couple families have moved out, and that means a bunch of teachers and kids are now gone. Last week he had the entire junior primary in his class--which was about 5 kids. He doesn't plan fun activities for them, but they love him. Yesterday one of his students came up to him in our pew before SM and just stood there. Daniel asked him what was up, and he said, "I just wanted to say hi to you." Then they started talking videogames.

7/03/2006 10:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary said...

I am in my ward's primary presidency and let me tell you, when we have a good, committed teacher, it makes all the difference in the world to the kids and to us! It has been interesting in this calling to see what people in the ward are willing and excited to help in primary and to see who isn't. Sometimes it is surprizing! It can be hard to fill those callings, but I really think the dedicated teachers get a lot more out of the callings than the kids even. The new directives about having no male teachers alone with a class is a bummer because some of our best teachers have been men. We're working with the new rules and trying to pair people up so we can keep men in the primary, but it is definitely sad those precautions have to be taken.

Heather, I'm so glad J's teacher is doing such a fabulous job! That's wonderful!

7/03/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Chad Too said...

My little guy's cancer diagnosis came just six weeks shy of him leaving nursery to go to Sumbeams. He had been so excited... and now his little heart was crushed over one more thing -- a BIG thing to him-- that being sick was costing him.

When January came and the Sunbeam teacher saw his name on her roll, she called and asked if she could come over on Sunday afternoons and give him his lesson. She even suggested we do it the same time as choir practice so my wife and I could go together while she stayed with him. There were a few bumps in the road (times he was too immune-suppressed to have visitors, he was sick, she was sick, etc.) but it was a great blessing for all of us. By June he was well enough that he could
Sacrament meeting and by October he could go to Primary like the other big kids.

Because this sister magnified her calling, my boy got to be a Sunbeam. There's got to be a special place in heaven for devoted teachers like that.

7/03/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Chad too, you're making me cry. What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

7/03/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Chad, what a beautiful story! I hope your little guy is doing well...

7/03/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger aquamarine said...

I too am a primary pres. and finding teachers like this is actually a rare find, at least in my ward. I am so glad that their is some hope out their that teachers really see the need that is to be filled! Chad too, your story brought tears to my eyes! What a sweet and caring women.

7/03/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

I loved teaching the Sunbeams. They are so cute. We usually spent the first half hour looking at new shoes and panties, and owies.

7/04/2006 12:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Chad Too said...

He's very well, thank you for asking. He's away at a cancer-survivor's weeklong camp in the Appalachians as we speak (he's 9-and-a-half now, btw) and I miss him very much even though he's only been gone two days and is rejoicing in a week of all-fun-no-parents.

I will say, though, that sister's style of service has made me more conscious of the service I provide. Yes, it's an over-done stereotype, but I often wonder if taking a meal to someone who doesn't really need it just because it's "service" is really the best way to work with our brothers and sisters. This Sunbeam teacher looked beyond a one-time Jello salad to what we really needed and we were greatly blessed for it.

I spent most of my holiday today working in the respective yards of two single sisters I hometeach, one a paraplegic. I ended up tired, dirty, sticky (this is the South, after all) and somewhat dehydrated. I feel great and they were so grateful. I don't even think I'm going to go see fireworks tonight; I'm just happy to have served where I was needed.

7/04/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

This entire post has me bawling for many reasons...

Chad too, thank you so much for sharing your story --and I'm so glad that your son is doing well.

I'm also a PP and this subject is just a sore spot with me...I have teachers that will just not show up some Sundays. Or call me the morning of --as if I can just jump in and substitute. I have teachers that refuse to teach together --this whole "2 male teachers" thing --where they would trade from week to week, no matter how often we plead with them to follow the letter from the 1st Pres. about 2 males...and then...and then!

I have had teachers like the one you describe. I have nursery leaders that have amazed other wards to the point that they come to observe to find out why they are praised to the sky.

Anyways, thanks for your post. I'm so grateful for teachers that are going above and beyond what most people deem to be "fulfilling" their callings. Not only do they make my calling better, but it has blessed my 3 children immensley.

7/04/2006 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger RIAZ UDDIN said...

Thanks to share like this helpful Information with us.I know many peoples who are not Interested to do Primary School Job.I speak with them about why they are not Interested to do job as Male Primary Teachers? but most of them said they don't know the answer! May be you are also thinking like them?

2/22/2013 06:54:00 AM  

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