You’re a Teacher Too


Even if you don’t have a Church calling to teach, you still teach. Here are nine tips for doing it well.

You teach all the time. You might not realize it, but you do it every day. You teach by your example; you share the gospel with your family and others; and in more formal settings you give talks, seminary devotionals, and family home evening lessons. You might even go team teaching with the missionaries or invite a friend who is learning the gospel from the missionaries and your family to your home.

Whatever your circumstances, you can’t help but be a teacher. So how can you be a good one?

Good teachers teach true doctrine, they use the scriptures, and they teach with the power of the Spirit. They also testify of the principles they teach, help learners apply the doctrine to their own lives, and live the principles themselves. This counsel applies whether you are teaching a Sunday School class or simply telling a friend about the gospel. (See Teaching, No Greater Call, 10.) Try a few of the following ideas when you teach. Some apply only in a classroom setting, but others are great for any teaching situation:

  1. 1.

    Be worthy of the Spirit’s guidance (see 2 Nephi 33:1 and D&C 42:13–14).

  2. 2.

    Prepare an outline for your lesson. Use the lesson manual if one is available. Throughout the Preach My Gospel manual you will find good suggestions for organizing lessons.

  3. 3.

    Share personal experiences that illustrate the gospel principles you are teaching.

  4. 4.

    Use sacred music to invite the Spirit and teach principles.

  5. 5.

    Ask questions that make people think, not just questions that prompt yes or no answers.

  6. 6.

    Pray to know what the Lord wants you to teach, how you can help those you teach, and what you can say to bless their lives. Really care about those you teach.

  7. 7.

    Seek to live and understand the principles you teach; then you will be able to teach them with more power and testimony (see D&C 11:21 and D&C 88:118).

  8. 8.

    Always bear testimony of the principles you are teaching. You can do this any time during a lesson or when you are just talking to someone about the gospel.

  9. 9.

    Stick to information from approved Church materials, such as the scriptures, the words of the prophets, Church manuals, and the Church magazines.

If you feel inadequate as a teacher, don’t worry. The Lord will strengthen you. The Spirit is the real teacher in any situation, and when you are prepared, you prepare the way for the Spirit to reach those you are teaching (see D&C 42:14).

Being a Good Learner

Much of what we get out of a class depends on us, the students, not just on the teacher. Here are some ways you can be a good learner when it comes to spiritual lessons.

  • Be worthy of the Holy Spirit and learn to recognize spiritual promptings. The Spirit is the true teacher.

  • Listen well in class. Take notes if that helps. And look for ways to apply in your life what you are learning.

  • Read assigned readings before class whenever possible.

  • Be respectful and attentive when a teacher is speaking. It is impolite to carry on a conversation or be otherwise distracted during a lesson. It sends the message that you don’t care if the teacher spent hours preparing the lesson, and it shows disrespect for the subject being taught—the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Participate. Ask questions if you have any, and give your comments when asked for. Teachers appreciate your participation.

  • Pray for your teachers to teach with the Spirit, and pray for yourself that you will listen and understand with the Spirit (see D&C 50:21–22).

Extra! Extra!

The Church has many good resources for teachers. Read the following to learn more about being a better teacher: “Teaching, Preaching, Healing,” Ensign, Jan. 2003, by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, and Teaching, No Greater Call, available in the Gospel Library at www.lds.org. Preach My Gospel, the manual for full-time missionaries, is helpful as well. You can also visit the Serving in the Church site at www.lds.org. Just click on Serving in the Church on the main page. The Sunday School link contains a teacher improvement site with much useful information.

[photos] Photography by John Luke, posed by model

[photo] Good teachers use good resources and methods that involve learners. But most important of all, good teachers teach with the power of the Spirit.

[photo] Becoming a good learner can help turn a lesson into a spiritual feast. Put yourself in a position to be truly taught the gospel of Jesus Christ.