After years as a teacher, I have learned some effective ways to teach teenagers in church settings.
The most important thing I have learned is to seek the Spirit. Not only do teens need help understanding the basics of the gospel, they also need help understanding how the Restoration applies to them. The Spirit can provide that help. If the Spirit is present, it can have a calming and motivating influence on the class members.
I’ve learned that teenagers want to be noticed, so I look them in the eyes and show respect by using their names. I’ve discovered, too, that if I explain the objectives and importance of the lesson, the students will more likely pay attention and respond with thought.
Making eye contact with those who begin to disturb the class is a way to curb a problem before it happens. I also like to move around the room as I teach—youth generally behave better when their teacher is close. Even placing a hand on a lively class member’s shoulder can help keep an atmosphere of learning. When young people are treated with respect and trust, they usually respond in the same spirit.
I like to keep the class busy reading, discussing, or acting out a situation. Variety keeps the learning—and teaching—exciting.
After each lesson, I evaluate myself. I identify areas for improvement and note ideas that worked well. By building on past experiences, I continue to learn how to create an atmosphere of excitement about gospel topics.