Teaching in the Savior’s Way

The Teacher Council Difference

By Sandra Cattell

The author lives in Scotland.

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One comment in one teacher council meeting changed more than my teaching.

woman speaking in teacher council meeting

Teacher council meetings are helping Sandra Cattell (center) improve her teaching abilities.

I’m fairly old, so when I was called to teach the young women, I thought, “My goodness! I wonder why they’ve called me?”

I put a lot of effort into preparing lessons appropriate for the young women’s needs, and I hoped they would be willing to share what they learned and what they did with it during the week. But my questions were often met with silence.

In one of our ward’s first teacher council meetings, one of the teachers said she too was finding it difficult to get the youth to communicate during the lessons. Another teacher in the meeting said, “Well, you can allow silence, you see.” Sometimes people need a little time to think about a question before answering.

That comment in teacher council meeting made a difference not only in the way I teach but for my students as well. I thought a lot about it. In my next Young Women lesson, I asked the class what gospel principle they had applied during the week. As usual, there was silence. But instead of immediately jumping in to fill the silence, I remembered our teacher council discussion and quietly said, “There’s no rush.”

The moment I said that, the conversation started to flow. The young women started to open up, and they shared some tender experiences. I immediately wanted to thank the teacher who had made that simple comment in teacher council meeting about silence. I was amazed how practicing that one principle had such a big difference so quickly.

But I didn’t realize until later what a difference that and other principles I’ve been learning are making. After church the mother of one of the young women told me that her daughter had said she knows that I’ve been called of God.

I can’t tell you how special hearing that comment was to me. There I was thinking, “What have I got to teach these young women?” But I must be teaching them something. I’m called for a purpose, and teacher council meetings are helping me fulfill that purpose.