I have found one of the secret weapons in a successful teacher’s arsenal is food. Sadly, it took many years of teaching for the power of food to be made clear to me. There are two main reasons I want you to consider adding food as an element of your Bible class or tutoring classes.
- Many children come to class without having anything to eat for twelve or more hours. I learned by accident one year that even kids from comfortable, financially sound environments often go without breakfast. This means you are often teaching a room full of children with not enough sugar in their bodies. I know it goes against everything being taught about healthy eating, but the sugar I am talking about is the healthy kind found in every food. When a child’s blood sugar is too low, it makes them tired, lethargic and even makes their thinking a little fuzzy. Giving your students a light healthy snack can give their brains the fuel they need to learn what you are trying to teach them.
- Food can give your students important chances to experience learning. Studying what life was like for Jesus and his Apostles? Have the students try some dates and figs. Teaching math? What more memorable way to learn factions than dividing a veggie pizza and sharing it with your students? Food can make almost any subject more memorable.
If you decide to introduce food into your classroom, there are a few important things to remember:
- Make sure to follow all food safety rules. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Wash your hands and have the students wash their hands before handling or eating food. You don’t want your class to turn into an unintentional lesson on food poisoning!
- Keep the foods as healthy as possible. I am not totally opposed to a child eating sweets from time to time, but as a parent I became very frustrated when our daughter’s Bible class teachers sent her home loaded with candy every week. Your students may not be getting the nutritious foods they need to be healthy on a regular basis at home. Help your students (and their parents) by providing healthy foods for your students to eat.
- Be aware of student allergies. For whatever reason, food allergies in children seem to be a constant today. Try to avoid serving foods like nuts that can harm many children. Get parents to alert you to any food allergies their children may have – even flour (gluten) can make some children feel bad.
The next time you prepare to teach, consider adding a food experience to your activities. You may find it makes your lesson more memorable and your students may participate in your class at a higher level than you have seen before.