How do I teach primary?

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slavereeno
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How do I teach primary?

Post by slavereeno » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:15 pm

So I accepted a primary teaching calling (yeah my second calling :( ) but I just found out its on Church history. I am sorta glad I don't have to go to SS or EQ now I suppose, but teaching church history from a manual might make my blood boil.

Advice?

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Jeffret
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by Jeffret » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:31 pm

When I last taught Primary, quite some time ago now, it was a New Testament year. In theory at least. The actual manual wasn't really about the the NT. On occasion it would use the NT as a jumping off point to discuss something important to the modern Church or some interpretation or meaning the Church wants but doesn't really exist in the NT. I just came up with something else, more based in the NT or NT times, more relevant to the kids' lives, and more meaningful and taught that. The kids seemed to enjoy it. I found photos of the Holy Land and other materials. I tried to show them what the area was really like and how it related to NT parables and metaphors.

But, as I said that was quite a while ago. Back then we didn't have multiple teachers, so there wasn't another teacher there to know that I wasn't following the lesson manual. I guess with the right teaching partner, they might be open to going off-manual. Otherwise, you have my sympathy.
"Close your eyes, for your eyes will only tell the truth,
And the truth isn't what you want to see" (Charles Hart, "The Music of the Night")

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Give It Time
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by Give It Time » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:35 pm

I had that year when I was a TBM. I grew up hearing the history and it had been quite awhile since I'd heard it. I'd read a story in the lesson manual and I'd remember the full story being much more interesting, so I looked it up simply to flesh out the story and make it more entertaining. Yeah... don't do that...

It depends on how low you want to fly under the radar. If I had that calling, now, I would look for an overall spiritual principle, use what materials I can from the lesson to support teaching that principle, then supplement heavily from other sources. I'm not talking about historical sources? I'm talking about if the lesson were about making good choices, then some good practical common sense teaching. Then a game to reinforce the concept.
At 70 years-old, my older self would tell my younger self to use the words, "f*ck off" much more frequently. --Helen Mirren

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Culper Jr.
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by Culper Jr. » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:29 pm

Keep in mind the year is almost over. You should be through the Joseph Smith stuff; the rest is about pioneers and SL Temple. I would just do like Give It Time said and focus on a principle; pick something out of the lesson you're okay with and focus on that. Church history and D&C is the real nightmare; OT and especially NT and even BOM you can more easily modify the lesson and teach like stories that convey a moral principle instead of an actual history.

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Just This Guy
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by Just This Guy » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:34 pm

Of course, isn't next year the BOM? That ought to be real fun...
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

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Jinx
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by Jinx » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:00 pm

That was the straw that broke my husband's back. It wasn't the lessons that bothered him (we were teaching the 4-year-olds and they don't have annual themes) it was the fact that he was indoctrinating little children into a cult that he no longer believed in. I'm not sure how to advise you to get around this. I could not in good conscience teach Primary anymore.
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“It’s the longest possible time before more church!” – Lisa Simpson

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Emower
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by Emower » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:21 pm

Yeah, this is one of those things I would flat out decline. But I am totes not under the radar. Someone asked my wife the other day if I was a non member.

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MerrieMiss
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by MerrieMiss » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:33 am

When I taught primary a few years back it was New Testament and that was easy – I taught a bible as literature class for ten year olds. I’d take whatever the lesson was and would do something like talk about what an epitstle is, choose a parable and talk about what the people in the story were doing, talk about the moral, mention several times that not everything (such as parables) in the scriptures actually happened…it was fun. At the end of the year I made them all little blank NT and had them color/paste pictures in them to make their own NT – we did the gospels first, followed by acts and epistles, drew dragons for Revelation. Bible as literature was a great class in college, and if any of these kids needs info for a trivia game they’ll need a basic understanding of scripture. It’s in the culture.I never got doctrinal about it – I just talked about what was in the book. I had a team teacher, but she did her lessons and I did mine.

Then I taught junior Primary. Although I didn’t have to teach from the BoM, which would have been very, very difficult (I don’t see a lot of cultural value in it – I don’t know, maybe now I would focus on the horses?) I found the thematic material for junior primary difficult, and I usually took what I could that was good from the lesson, and then had a craft or a puzzle or game to do with the kids. Forty-five minutes is too long for little kids and those horrid lessons. I had the same team teacher for this class too. If she had a problem with it, she never said anything.

Last time I was in primary I was a long-term sub for someone who had a baby. I never taught a lesson once, never even opened the book. I brought games and puzzles. We did origami. I brought treats. No one ever talked to me about it and I doubt anyone would simply because no one else wants to be there. I showed up, sat with the kids for two hours and went home. What more do they really want?

Through all of this I had a statement ready if anyone complained and chastised me: “I’m sorry, this is an unpaid, untrained volunteer position that I did not volunteer for. I’ll leave and you can teach. Have a nice day.” I never had to use it.

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slavereeno
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by slavereeno » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:37 am

Thanks Everyone! These are great suggestions. Right now, pulling out a principle and teaching that seems like the best bet.
Last edited by slavereeno on Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MerrieMiss
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by MerrieMiss » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:38 am

The worst part of teaching primary, the absolute worst, is sharing time. That is indoctrination time for little kids. Every week for years I would want to scream and pull my hair out during sharing time. When I was in the presidency and didn't have to teach it I'd hide in the nursery, roam the halls, anything to not be in there. When I taught senior primary I'd get out of there and hang out in the hall or walk around the church if the weather was nice; unfortunately when I taught junior I couldn't leave the little ones. It is the worst. I almost volunteered to teach both junior and senior to get out of sharing time.

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crossmyheart
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by crossmyheart » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:51 am

coloring pages...takes up most of class time

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Jeffret
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by Jeffret » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:07 am

MerrieMiss wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:33 am
Last time I was in primary I was a long-term sub for someone who had a baby. I never taught a lesson once, never even opened the book. I brought games and puzzles. We did origami. I brought treats. No one ever talked to me about it and I doubt anyone would simply because no one else wants to be there. I showed up, sat with the kids for two hours and went home. What more do they really want?
I think this is a key thing to remember. Sometimes we fret over these things, over the details, when the minimum requirements are actually much lower. Really, people just want someone who will reliably show up and fill a slot.

I agree on the difficulty of Sharing Time. That's a hard one to sit through.
"Close your eyes, for your eyes will only tell the truth,
And the truth isn't what you want to see" (Charles Hart, "The Music of the Night")

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Emower
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by Emower » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:14 am

I think this conversation has circled around to the ever present debate of when do you stop supporting something that has parts you dont agree with. I mean, if you you are looking for ways to get out of something, it bugs you and you literally cannot deal with it and have to leave or you will explode, when do you just stop supporting it? I dont have an answer. It just seems like Primary is a punch with some urine in it. Some parts good, other parts bad.

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MoPag
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by MoPag » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:05 am

Lots of good advice. I loved teaching primary as a NOM. My advice:

Don't use the manual.
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I mean you can use it to see what you should be teaching and build off that. But don't use the actual content. And don't read the actual content because it will just make you mad.

Just try to be friends with the kids you teach. Let them tell you about their lives and their problems. Act interested in the stuff they are interested in-probably Minecraft and Roblox.

Bring treats, play games, and just teach them to be good, kind non-judgmental people.

Sharing time is it's own special kind of hell. But there are ways to deal with it. If your class is older and can sit by themselves, volunteer to help in Nursery. If not, just try to zone out.
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Good luck!
...walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men’s lies...--Ezra Pound

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Corsair
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by Corsair » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:35 am

MoPag wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:05 am
Lots of good advice. I loved teaching primary as a NOM. My advice:

Don't use the manual.
Yes, this is the answer. Keep the "actual" lesson short and allow a lot more latitude and choice for your students in the remaining time. In senior primary let them ask questions about any subject, especially on subjects outside of the church and religion. I taught the 11 year old boys for two years and had a blast doing this. I started out classes with brief science discussion and let them run with that for as long as they want. I encouraged them to read the Wikipedia entry on Joseph Smith. They got to read the Wentworth letter in its entirely including a version of the First Vision they had not seen before.

If this is junior primary, let them color and build paper airplanes. Go around the room and ask each of them what was the funnest thing they did this week. Let them talk about the best movie they have seen. Ask them what animal they would like to take home from the zoo as a pet. Ignore most of the lackluster and ineffective teaching that the institutional church wants you to do. What are they going to do if you passively ignore official direction? They lack both the resolve and the extra staffing to fire you. I did this for two more years exploiting my time as a glorified baby sitter.

In singing time, I told them simply, I don't care what you do, just don't make the nice ladies at the front of the room angry. I won't deny that there are many annoyances with Primary and it's pretty boring at times. But note that all of the public volunteerism for chapel cleaning occurs in Priesthood and Relief Society. The sign up sheets are benignly negligent in Primary.

Primary is really hard to staff for a bishopric and if someone is quietly doing it then you earn the gratitude of ward leadership, as thin as that may be. I will admit that I maneuvered my way out of Primary by by volunteering to be on the scout committee. That provides reasonable cover for lots of callings if you do like scouting.

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shadow
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by shadow » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:20 pm

Corsair wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:35 am
But note that all of the public volunteerism for chapel cleaning occurs in Priesthood and Relief Society. The sign up sheets are benignly negligent in Primary.
Your ward still uses volunteerism for chapel cleaning? My stake has long resorted to voluntoldism with a healthy dose of public shaming. At least it's organized in a nice excel sheet.
"Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing. To be healed we must come with all the other creates to the feast of Creation." --Wendell Berry

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Jeffret
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by Jeffret » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:37 pm

shadow wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:20 pm
Your ward still uses volunteerism for chapel cleaning? My stake has long resorted to voluntoldism with a healthy dose of public shaming. At least it's organized in a nice excel sheet.
The last few years I was involved in the Church, I took Nancy Reagan's advice and just said, "No". When they called to let me know about my assignment, I told him that I hadn't agreed to that and I wasn't going to be able to participate. I kind of felt sorry for the nice older gentleman doing his job, but just because he had a problem didn't make it my problem. I didn't see any public shaming, but that might have been because I wasn't participating anywhere it might have been going on.
"Close your eyes, for your eyes will only tell the truth,
And the truth isn't what you want to see" (Charles Hart, "The Music of the Night")

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shadow
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by shadow » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:54 pm

Jeffret wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:37 pm
shadow wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:20 pm
Your ward still uses volunteerism for chapel cleaning? My stake has long resorted to voluntoldism with a healthy dose of public shaming. At least it's organized in a nice excel sheet.
The last few years I was involved in the Church, I took Nancy Reagan's advice and just said, "No". When they called to let me know about my assignment, I told him that I hadn't agreed to that and I wasn't going to be able to participate. I kind of felt sorry for the nice older gentleman doing his job, but just because he had a problem didn't make it my problem. I didn't see any public shaming, but that might have been because I wasn't participating anywhere it might have been going on.
I've told them no, too. I've been taken off the lists. They don't really know how to deal with me.

The public pressure is applied each week when some of the first announcements in priesthood opening exercises is who has building lock-up, or seminary security, or building clean-up that week. It's all based on a schedule they made at the beginning of the year without input from anyone actually being scheduled.
"Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing. To be healed we must come with all the other creates to the feast of Creation." --Wendell Berry

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Jeffret
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by Jeffret » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:13 pm

shadow wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:54 pm
I've told them no, too. I've been taken off the lists. They don't really know how to deal with me.
Yeah, that was my experience. I just stopped complying with demands where I didn't agree to them in first place. And not agreeing to all demands put to me. They didn't know how to deal with that.
shadow wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:54 pm
The public pressure is applied each week when some of the first announcements in priesthood opening exercises is who has building lock-up, or seminary security, or building clean-up that week. It's all based on a schedule they made at the beginning of the year without input from anyone actually being scheduled.
That makes sense. I hadn't actually attended priesthood meeting for some years. I was in nursery with my wife for the last couple of years and Primary before that. Attending priesthood meeting and Sunday school is what drove me away for good at that point.
"Close your eyes, for your eyes will only tell the truth,
And the truth isn't what you want to see" (Charles Hart, "The Music of the Night")

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Corsair
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Re: How do I teach primary?

Post by Corsair » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:25 pm

shadow wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:20 pm
Your ward still uses volunteerism for chapel cleaning? My stake has long resorted to voluntoldism with a healthy dose of public shaming. At least it's organized in a nice excel sheet.
Luckily, yes. I am largely immune to public shame. I just sit there as the EQ Pres and HP Group Leader vainly scans the assemblage of priesthood holders looking for guilt and duty to coax believers into raising their hands and claiming their blessings. Admittedly, many ward members seem sincere in their enjoyment of temple service. Many of them happily serve as ordinance workers in the local Gilbert temple. Getting a chance to clean the temple is almost an added bonus.

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