On Evaluating the Sunday Church School Year

The school year is wrapping up in North America. For many of us, this means that Sunday Church School will also be taking a summer break. A change from the usual routine is a good time for us to think and evaluate what we do and take steps toward making improvements. Let us take advantage of this time to review our classroom and lessons this year, thinking about what worked and what did not work, and then figure out steps to take to improve for next year.

Evaluating all of this at once can feel overwhelming. We recommend blocking out a few evaluation sessions in our summer schedule, concentrating on one aspect at each session. Suggested review sessions could include: classroom setup; curriculum; interactions with students; teaching style; etc. Each of us knows which areas of our Sunday Church School class experience need the most consideration, and we should schedule a self-appointed review session for each of those specific areas.

It is our goal as Sunday Church School teachers to teach our students to the best of our ability so that we can help them grow in the Faith. Taking time to think about the past year and its successes and failures will help us see some of that growth in ourselves and in our students. It will also offer us the opportunity to find ways to improve so that our next group of students has an even better experience!

May God bless each teacher, as we review this year and plan for the next!

What resources and ideas for classroom improvement do you have to offer to the community? Please share them below! Here a few online resources that we have found which could be helpful.

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“Write down your ideas!  I don’t know why, but I always get ideas for the following year toward the end of the current school year and I don’t want to forget them. So, I write them down.  I just use a boring old spiral notebook and write down things that I might want to do next year.  I bring the notebook home and add to it during the summer.” Read this article from a classroom teacher that contains suggestions of what to do with your students in the final class times together, as well as other general end-of-year suggestions (such as this one), here: http://www.primarily-speaking.com/2015/05/my-favorite-end-of-year-tips-and-tricks.html#.WSSFS1TyvIW

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Here is a printable evaluation that you could use as a starting place for your own personal evaluation of many aspects of the Sunday Church School year: http://www.pghpresbytery.org/disciplemaking/pdfs/Evaluation_Tool_for_Teachers.pdf

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This (not Orthodox, but helpful) article offers ideas of how to look with fresh eyes at your Sunday Church School room to see how it could be improved to better enhance learning. The “environment inventory” near the end will be especially helpful. https://nccumc.org/christianformation/files/Classroom-Environment.pdf

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One way to evaluate your curriculum is to take a look at some of the other Orthodox Christian Sunday Church School curricula available: not necessarily for the purpose of finding something you like better, but just for the experience of seeing ideas of other ways to teach what you are teaching. Some of the current curricula are listed here: http://www.antiochian.org/category/christian-education/especially-small-church-schools

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As you think about your interactions with students, consider ways you can continue that interaction in a positive way over the summer. Check out these two related blog posts from years gone by: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/keeping-in-touch-with-sunday-church-school-students/

https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/on-supporting-your-students-throughout-the-summer/

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This (non-Orthodox) article offers ways to improve your teaching style. We are sharing it because of the great variety of ways it suggests that can be used to teach your Sunday Church School students. Perhaps one of them will encourage you to try something that will help your students’ learning level to improve! http://churchrelevance.com/10-ways-improve-sunday-school-lessons-2/

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