Below, Katie Reinitz, a veteran leader of Sunday School, shares some of the joys she's experienced and the challenges she's faced over the years.
How long have you been a Sunday School teacher?
I have been a Sunday School teacher for almost 40 years. I lived in Missouri when I first started teaching. I taught preschool, third and fourth, sixth and seventh, and eighth grades. I had the same kids from year to year. I still connect with some online. When I got married and moved to Washington, I taught Sunday School for various ages: two-year-olds, preschool, junior high, and high school.
How did you become involved in Sunday School?
Two reasons. First, I was fifteen and didn't feel comfortable with the high school curriculum. Second, I loved working with the little ones in the nursery, so I stayed and, soon, started teaching.
Please share a favorite Sunday School teaching moment.
When one of the little ones came to Sunday School one morning, as I was greeting the children at the door, he had been crying and looked up to me and said, “I have tears!” That was so sweet. Years later, I was doing a talk on being a Sunday School teacher and used that illustration. I never said the name of the child, but by this time he was a teenager. I could see him in the congregation hoping I wouldn't say his name.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Sunday School teachers today?
Keeping the children engaged, especially as they get older. I teach junior high students now, and whenever we go over the story they say, “We know this story.” But by the time we are done with it, they say, “Oh, we didn't know that part.” :-)
How do you embrace this challenge?
Engage with the kids! For example, I ask them about soccer games or concerts. I try to go to as many as possible, but don’t make them all.
What advice would you give to a first-time volunteer teacher?
CPH has a lot of great online Sunday School resources . . . check them out! We are on the West Coast, so I don't have the option anymore of running up to CPH. But I encourage ordering for Sunday School. (I'm Board of Education Chair and Superintendent too.)
What is your favorite part of teaching Sunday School?
The kids! My junior high kids make me laugh. I have a crazy sense of humor and make them laugh too. I enjoy teaching about God’s love in Christ. I know their families and use them as examples. Junior high was the best time for me in Sunday School, so I try to make it the same for them.