Emily Hunter: A Day In The Life Of A Sunday School Teacher
By Emily Hunter
As a catechumen I remember watching all the children of our parish venerate the Gospel during the Little Entrance and then head to the basement of the Church for Sunday school. I remember how adorable I thought they were- the girls in their dresses and the boys with their Church shoes. I'd watch them as they'd go up to take Communion with crossed arms, and kiss the Chalice after having received the Lord's Body and Blood.
After I was chrismated, I was asked to help teach Sunday school and I literally jumped at the idea. Although I had been a member of Christ the Saviour for less than a year, I truly came to love all of the children. After Liturgy, during lunch in the Parish Hall, they'd include me in their make-believe games and their tea parties. I was so excited to be able to spend time with them on Sundays teaching them about the Faith. I went home and spent the rest of the week researching Orthodox education on the internet. From there I began brainstorming crafts and games I could incorporate into the lessons I would give. I guess you could say that I really took the title of Sunday school teacher seriously.
After a few months we started working on the Creed. My co-teacher and I brainstormed about how we would present this pillar of our faith to our class. It was important that it be understood by the children and not simply memorized. It seemed obvious that this was not something that would only be taught in one lesson but would take a few weeks.
I went into the first class and told them that we'd be learning about creeds. And so I asked them "Can anyone tell me what a creed is?" Right away all 10 little hands shot up in the air waving around frantically. The child that I called on told the class that a creed is "the prayer we say when the bell rings during Church". I smiled because I was somewhat expecting this answer. I replied that we were not talking about the Creed yet, but simply what a creed was. I went on to explain that a creed is a list of things that you believe and know to be true. I said that I could make my own creed and it could be "I believe that the sky is blue, that water is wet and that my parents love me... and that the Senators are the best hockey team in the whole entire world." They all laughed a bit, and it seemed like I really had their attention. Next I turned to the white board and said "Ok, now let's make a class creed. Who can give me an example of something they believe and know is true?" I was expecting some kind of cute, comical answer like "leaves turn orange during the fall" or something along those lines. Instead I watched all the students sit frozen in their chairs thinking very intently about their answer. Eventually a little girl named Juliana lifted up her hand. She then told the class, "I believe that communion is the real Body and Blood of Jesus". I was floored! Next a little boy named Jonathan lifted up his hand and said " I believe that the Holy Spirit came down like a dove when Jesus was baptized". These types of answers continued until everyone got to give an answer and we had our class creed. And sure enough they noticed that there was a lot of stuff they were missing, and so we went on to study the Nicean Creed.
As you can see, these kids were miles ahead of me in my lesson. The ten children in my Sunday school class have become an icon for me, teaching me the meaning of the Lord's words to the disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me."