Monday, March 26, 2012
I'm sitting on my hands for a while
So I was telling my wife about our Gospel Doctrine class. I really like our teacher: he’s well-prepared and asks good questions. He draws on his own experience and draws a lot of discussion out of the class. Yesterday he taught about Jacob 5, one of my favorite chapters of the Book of Mormon. And by favorite, I mean I have a lot of my own ideas about what’s most important in that chapter.
As I described the lesson to my wife, I expressed regret that he hadn’t touched on a couple of points I wish he had. My wife (rightly, I might add, since she was putting the finishing touches on dinner and we were all tired and hungry because we’d been fasting) pretty much told me she didn’t want to hear me complain about the Gospel Doctrine teacher.
I was taken aback. I hadn’t thought I was complaining. And I don’t really think I meant to complain. But complaining is what my wife heard.
I began to think about my behavior in that class (and others). I tend to sit near the front. I read my lessons ahead of time. And I comment frequently. I began to wonder how I sound to other members of the classes I attend. I began to wonder if just because a thought pops into my head I ought to share it with the class.
The title of this post ought to give you a clue as to where I’m coming out on that question.
Don’t get me wrong – as a teacher in a class, I love to have class participation. I even welcome a provocative comment from time to time to engage class members. But I don’t generally appreciate a class member who wants to teach my lesson for me from the third or fourth row.
So I’m going to try an experiment for a while (and next week will be easy since they don’t ask for a lot of audience participation at General Conference – at least not from people sitting in my family room…). I’m going to say less in class. I’m going to ask myself what contribution I’m making to the lesson and to the other members of the class. And I’m going to strive to have that participation be measured and meaningful.
We’ll see how it goes.