In an interesting thread at FMH, commenter Lyndsey says (speculating why RS lessons are better than EQ lessons) “…men generally do not care if the other brothers are impressed by how much time they took to prepare the lesson because they realize that the men wouldn’t notice anyway. The women overly plan to impress.”
This got me thinking. For the most part EQ classes have always generally felt like the guy read over the material during Sacrament Meeting (and makes the class do a lot of reading straight from the manual). I often hear from my wife about how fantastic the RS lesson was (and have been told how much preparation is put into them). This can’t be a gender thing because I’ve had countless excellent lessons in GD taught by guys (as well as women). Could it really be the audience?
I’ve done my fair share of teaching in the church and I’d consider myself a pretty decent teacher, so after reading what Lyndsey said I had to ask myself, what is my motivation? Do I devote my weeknights and Saturday to the lesson because of the good feelings I get when people approach me after the lesson telling me how much they enjoyed/learned from it (not just the “nice lesson” variety but the ones that have something sincere to say about it)? Because lemme tell ya, that feels really good. So does creating an engaging discussion where everyone is paying attention and participating. So does witnessing that light go on in someone’s head when they see something in a way they never had before. (And for what it’s worth, this doesn’t change if I’m only teaching men.)
I guess it comes down to why I want those experiences. Do I want to witness that light go on in the student’s head because it validates me as a good teacher or do I want to witness it because I truly care that the student is learning? Because that is the difference between teaching to impress and teaching for learning. I’d like to think that for me it’s always the latter but I’m probably wrong. And that’s sad.