Over twelve years of blogging and twenty years of training and consulting, I have been sensitive to the questions asked and needs discovered. When an issue comes up repeatedly, I address it here. Recently, Dot asked this question:
Can a Sunday School Director also teach a class on Sunday morning?
There are many unique situations. My responses in person and here are always tempered by a fuller understanding of the context. I listen well to discover the heart of the situation. But my responses are not always what the leader wants to hear. Here is my response to Dot:
Dot, there are times when doing so is necessary. That could be when a new class is needed or you lose a teacher and a new teacher is not ready. It may also be possible in a small Sunday School with five or fewer classes. But it is challenging to serve as teacher AND director in order to do your Sunday morning duties well: What Does a Revolutionary Sunday School Director Do on Sunday Morning?
One major task for the director and the Sunday School team is praying for, enlisting, and training new teachers and workers. When this is done well, the director can be freed up normally to be checking on his/her teachers and classes to provide the evaluation, encouragement, and support needed to help them grow.
In previous posts, I shared job descriptions for the Sunday School director and the teacher:
- Job Description: Sunday School Director, Sunday School Director Job Description, Part 1, and Sunday School Director Job Description, Part 2
- Job Description: Sunday School Teacher.
Sometimes an effective teacher agrees to serve as Sunday School director. But passion for teaching means he/she wants to do both. Directors may cover a class while they struggle to find someone to teach. Both situations can become permanent with no plan (like I told Dot) to pray for, enlist, and train teachers.
On average, I have seen burnout and ineffectiveness more likely to occur with leaders who try to do both jobs for more than 3-6 months. Here are only three of the reasons:
- even when arriving early, opportunity for communication and relationships is missed when you are teaching (or else you arrive late to teach and miss opportunity for greeting class members and guests)
- observation of class, greeter, and parking needs cannot be done while teaching (this makes planning training more challenging)
- planning is required for effective work in both jobs (with class leadership team and Sunday School planning team).
In a small Sunday School, the director can call every teacher every week to support and encourage them. That could enable a director to teach a class with some limited effectiveness. In a larger one, age group directors (preschool, children, youth, and adult) can share the load of evaluation, communication, and planning. But in order to lead that team effectively, observation is needed.
Sometimes, a Sunday School director enlists a good co-teacher to (1) cover for late class arrival while doing director tasks and (2) teach on some Sundays so fuller observation of Sunday School can take place at least once a month. This can raise effectiveness in both jobs, but there is still a higher likelihood of distraction and burnout. So be careful.
Are you serving in both capacities? If so, how have you found the two jobs to be difficult? Or how have you worked to do both jobs well? Press Comments and help others who are doing both jobs. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!