Becoming a master teacher: tips from the local saints

Becoming a master teacher: tips from the local saints

When you became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, you took on an immediate assignment: to be a teacher. It doesn’t matter whether you’re called as a Young Women’s advisor, a Stake President, the music leader in Primary or a home teacher. In fact, once you have entered the waters of baptism, you will begin to fulfill the divine role of teacher even with no calling at all. Our mandate to share the gospel through word and deed as parents, children, siblings, colleagues, friends and in our more formal ‘calling’ capacities means we have a mandate to teach others the things we know.

President David O. McKay once said, ‘No greater responsibility can rest upon any man [or woman], than to be a teacher of God’s children.’

The introduction to Teaching, no greater call: a resource guide for gospel teaching says: “As you think of the role of gospel teaching in the salvation and exaltation of God’s children, can you imagine a duty more noble and sacred? It calls for your diligent efforts to increase your understanding and improve your skills, knowing the Lord will magnify you as you teach in the way He has commanded.”

Teaching, no greater call: a resource guide for gospel teaching

On our Facebook page, we asked members of the Africa Southeast Area to tell us some ways to become better teachers. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Seek the power of the Holy Ghost as you teach
“Invite the spirit, and teach by the Spirit,” said Bangi Henry Tshabalala.
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Pam Cerff said: “A lesson from Elder Bednar is to ask the Spirit what part he would like you to take in the lesson, then listen and do what he says.”

According to President Joseph Fielding Smith, the Spirit teaches more powerfully than any other medium on earth. “The Spirit of God speaking to the spirit of man has power to impart truth with greater effect and understanding than the truth can be imparted by personal contact even with heavenly beings,” he said.

“Through the Holy Ghost the truth is woven into the very fibre and sinews of the body so that it cannot be forgotten.”

  • Invite the spirit by preparing early and thoroughly, but don’t be fixated on covering all the material in the lesson
Fitzgerald Kagiso Sidumo said: “Start preparing the lesson as early as possible. Sunday afternoons are always a good time to start, and then add on to that during the week as time permits.”
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Anne Beck added that we qualify to teach with the Spirit “by being prepared.”

Vincent Comrie said: “Prepare properly and then let the Spirit guide. I think too often teachers are so focused on wanting to teach everything in the handbook, that they forget to let theSpirit guide them during the lessons.”

Colleen Keyes echoed his words: “Prepare in advance, let the Spirit do the teaching, speak from the heart, and don’t try to cover everything in the lesson.”

  • Love those you teach

Lastly, our members admonished teachers to develop genuine love for those whom they shepherd.

Marcelle Amstrong said: “Get to know and love those you teach. If that seems like a formidable task – do it anyway, one person at a time. It makes all the difference.”

Charle Willers agreed. “You have to love the ones you teach,” he said, “and that love will only come if you serve them.”

For Reabetswe Maitseo Sethaelo, that effort is summed up by one word: “Fellowshipping”.

And for Melissa Molema, the starting point is learning the names of everyone in your class. From there, she suggests, “Invite participation by asking questions relevant to the class you teach.”

As we prepare thoroughly, seek the Spirit’s guidance and truly love those whom we teach, we will become more powerful teachers and instruments in the hands of the Lord. We will begin to see firsthand the miracles contained in a promise made by Elder Dallin H. Oaks: “If we have the Spirit of the Lord to guide us, we can teach any person, no matter how well educated, any place in the world. The Lord knows more than any of us, and if we are His servants, acting under His Spirit, He can deliver His message of salvation to each and every soul.”