In addition to curriculum challenges, teachers face a variety of other challenges as well. Below are a few unexpected challenges that came up as I taught Sunday School, Children’s Church and worked in other various children’s ministries.
Puppet Stage Fallout:
When I taught a Sunday School class of four to six-year-olds, a challenge arose because of a puppet stage that was being stored in our classroom. This puppet stage was a wooden box with three sides that were painted in bright colors. The fourth side, the front of the box, had a window with a curtain over it. The curtain could be moved aside or lifted up so that the puppets could appear to be standing on a stage. The back of the puppet stage was covered with a fabric curtain. This puppet stage leaned up against the wall in our classroom when it wasn’t being used.
The challenge with the puppet stage came when children from my Sunday school class kept trying to sneak into the puppet stage during class so they could hide from me. However, their game was short-lived because the stage always started moving around, and they couldn’t keep from giggling when they thought they actually managed to hide from me.
The second challenge came when this puppet stage nearly tipped over on a few of the children one day. The children were getting more active than usual, which made the puppet stage sway forward and it nearly fell on some of the students. Thank God that He showed me what was happening in time to stop the stage from falling and get the children away from it so they wouldn’t get hurt.
Beware of storing unused furnishings in the children’s classrooms. If they can, the children will probably find a way to either get into them or climb on them. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt.
In 1 Corinthians 13:11 Paul tells us, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” This passage tells me that children do not reason or act like adults. They will do childish things and, as adults, we need to do the best we can to keep them from getting hurt.
White Board Scare:
One one occasion we had a medium-sized marker board sitting on an easel in the Children’s ministry room. Some exuberant young boys were running in the room and ran into the easel. The white marker board fell off the easel and went crashing to the floor, landing right in front of a preschool-aged girl. It scared her half to death! (and me too!) Thank God she wasn’t hurt by the white-board fallout.
Since that time I’ve learned to make sure all of the boards in the Children’s ministry rooms are mounted to the wall so they cannot fall and hurt someone. If teachers can become aware of this problem, perhaps we can keep from having these accidents in our classrooms.
On another Sunday morning, in Children’s Church, we sent the children on a supervised bathroom run. As each child finished, they were escorted back to the room. While the children were finishing their bathroom duty, my teen-helpers and I went to set up the four large, round tables (about 3 ft. in diameter) we used for snack and craft times.
As I reached to grab one of the tables, an exuberant five-year-old boy grabbed the other end of it and said, “I want to help! I want to help!” Just as we rolled the table away from the wall, another exuberant preschool-aged boy ran over to the pile of tables and began to grab a second table. I shouted, ‘No!” to the lad but couldn’t leave my table because the first boy would have been hurt when it fell. Unfortunately, none of my helpers realized what was happening in time to get close enough to stop the lad so the youngster grabbed the table and began pushing it away from the wall. The table fell over on the boy, pinning his upper legs to a couple of chairs behind him.
While this was happening, I was holding the first table, trying to keep if from falling over. As soon as I could, I put down the table I was holding and rushed over to the boy who was pinned by the large table and chairs. I quickly removed the table from the boys legs and asked him if he was hurt. He was a little frightened by the incident, but thank God he wasn’t hurt!
Afterwards, I explained to the two boys that I was very glad they wanted to help, but from now on they needed to let the adults move the tables because they weren’t big enough yet to do it. The boys seemed satisfied with what was said, so we continued on with our lesson. After Children’s church I explained the accident to the young man’s parents, and thankfully, they understood.
So teachers, if you have any exuberant young helpers in your class, make sure they understand that they need to let the adults move the furnishing in the classroom. Being a help is a blessing, but we don’t want the little ones hurt!
Though, as teachers, we try to be as careful as possible, unexpected accidents can happen and people can get hurt. Also, don’t be surprised in you have some little helpers with big ideas! These children don’t stop to think about their limitations when they offer to help.