Friday, February 5, 2010

Gently Peeling Back the Layers

I have a large class.  I discovered that I also have a good number of shy students. It seems to me that many of the shy ones just don't feel comfortable blurting out comments or answers.  I respect that.  I was shy when I was a youth too. 

I have found an outlet for my shy students to communicate to me that the lessons are reaching them.  In a past post titled "Tender Hearts Discovered Through Tardy Make-ups", I outlined how I provide my students with opportunities to make up their tardies.  I e-mail them questions from the lesson on the day I taught it. (I send them a "blind carbon copy" so they all receive it but it keeps their e-mail addresses confidential.)   They simply reply "correctly" to the questions for credit.  I have some students who stock pile the questions in a folder and answer them months later.  That's fine, but usually they get the answers wrong because the lesson isn't fresh on their minds.   (Hmmmmm.  That could be useful for a possible lesson on procrastination!  I'll have to remember that one.)

Reading these e-mail responses has revealed a sensitivity and spirituality that is not shown in a classroom setting.  At least not with shy people.  I've discovered that I have some shy spiritual giants. By allowing me to share in their insights, they are trusting me enough to allow me to see what they think and feel about the gospel. I see the shyness layers peeling back.  There is some real substance there.  What a gift!  It's a gift to me because I'm grateful/blessed to witness it.  You can't always tell from looking at them who has a strong testimony.  But this is a way they can let me know that they are okay, and fine, and strong, and good.

There are always those days that you think lessons you've presented could have been much better than they actually turned out.  I have more days like that than I don't.  But in the few years I've taught seminary, I have learned to LEAN HEAVILY on the Spirit to teach my students what they need to hear.  I still come prepared to teach as best I can, but there is a whole lot less pressure to do all or be all for each one of them. 
 The big question is, "When they leave the classroom, did the Spirit teach them something through your words or were they unaffected?"  The students who aren't shy tell you when they "got" the lesson.  The shy ones don't.....................................except through e-mail.


  1. I love the idea of make-up work through the E-mail! I totally got to know many things about my students through make-up work that they never manifested in class. In fact, with some of the students the work was so profound I almost questioned if they did it themselves. lol
    BTW last post was written because of your urging. Thanks for your awesome friendship!

  2. Good email idea.

    When I saw that onion I thought of how Jordie called me Shrek while I was home because I like onions!

  3. Very sweet.....I love that you have a place where your shy students can feel comfortable sharing their thoughts! You are such a good teacher!