Have you ever been in a teaching funk? You know what I’m talking about. Your ideas seem tired. You’re not as engaged as you know you can be. You don’t feel as effective as you have in the past. Most teachers have been there. I’m pretty sure I’m in one now!
I love teaching God’s word and I’m fortunate enough to be the primary teacher in our Jr. High ministry. I don’t want to be in a funk. I want to be as effective as possible because I feel the burden of teaching God’s Word to students. God’s word is serious, life-changing stuff. And I know as a teacher, I’ll be held accountable for what I teach. Instead of running from this truth, I want to be motivated by it. I’m sure you feel the same way.
But as I said, I’m in a bit of a rut. So I’ve been thinking about ways to get out of it. Here are a few of my thoughts.
1. Admit You’re Struggling
If you’re struggling, talk to someone about it. Talk to your supervisor, other pastors in town, or people that you network with. Don't sit around and stress over it. Reach out to others who can encourage you and offer help.
2. Make Time To Be Alone With God
You can’t keep pouring out if you’re not being filled up. You have to make time to spend with God. If you’re not with God, then you can't know God. If you don't know Him, you can't teach others about Him. You can fake it for a while, but you’ll eventually fall flat.
3. Focus On Your Content
Do you have a content problem? Are you using curriculum that requires so much tweaking it’s wearing you out? Are you writing your own content and suffering from a little writer’s block? Whatever the case, if your content is stale, your teaching will suffer. Evaluate your material. Maybe you need a break. Or a change.
4. Commit To Prayer And Fasting
When was the last time you did this? Make consistent, focused prayer a priority. Connect with God and listen to what He has to say to you as a teacher, and as His son or daughter. Take a day to fast, focusing all your energy on one thing: connecting with Jesus. You’ll be surprised how this will help kick-start your passion for teaching God’s Word.
5. Read A Book
Someone suggested that I read a book on teaching. Not a bad idea. I haven’t read anything new in a while. I’m going to get a new book this week to learn from a different voice. Maybe you could too!
6. Take A Break
If possible, take a week or two off of teaching to re-focus, let your spirit rest, and get your head and heart right with God. The bonus is that you also give someone else a chance to gain experience as a teacher, which is a huge benefit to your ministry.
7. Evaluate Your Preparation Process
Do you have a good process for how are you writing/preparing for a lesson? Do you feel like your routine serves you or hinders you? Good routines equip you to teach. Bad ones hold you back and squelch creativity. Think about your preparation process and where you might could tweak it to get a more positive outcome.
8. Try Something New
Nothing helps break out of a funk faster than changing it up. Try something different. Get off the stage. Change your room set-up. Use more video. Use less video. Incorporate students more.
9. Trust In The Holy Spirit
When you’re down on yourself, remember that the Holy Spirit is moving. Anything our students take away from our lessons is a credit to work of the Holy Spirit. Be encouraged. You’re not teaching under your own power.
10. Seek Input
Record your lessons and ask others to listen and give you feedback. Invite them to your room when you’re teaching so they can give great feedback too. Make sure they are people you trust who will be honest, about both your strengths and your weaknesses. And most importantly, listen to them.
We all know that teaching God’s Word is central to our ministries. Making sure we’re as effective as possible is vital.
We can all get better together. I’d love to hear your tips on breaking out of the dreaded “teaching funk” so many of us have struggled with.
What works for you?