If you lead a program dependent upon volunteers for teaching classes, you probably think your work is done once you get them to agree to teach. You may throw some materials their way and then assume they will take care of the rest. You check that class off of your to-do list and move on to the next task.
Teach One Reach One wants you to realize that is only the beginning of your interaction with your teaching volunteers. If you want to meet your objectives of reaching kids and teens for Christ, you have to support your volunteers. In fact, it needs to be one of your very top priorities. If your teachers get the training, materials, emotional and spiritual support they need, your program can soar. Neglect one or more areas and your program will be a mere shadow of what it could be.
From time to time, we will share tips for improving the life of your volunteers. The type of person who volunteers usually has more than one organization they serve. The organizations who make serving a pleasure are often the ones who will get the bulk of their volunteer hours.
One of the best things you can do for teaching volunteers is to have everything ready for them. If you have the resources, you may want to do what we just did for someone we were helping get organized for the first time. Each class and each lesson got a large baggie (any container will work). In the container, we placed the lesson plan, any supplementary materials and everything they need for their activities. We had the time to do the little bit of prep work some activities needed – like writing a Bible verse on something for younger children.
When a teaching volunteer is handed a packet like that, you have saved them a lot of time. In some ways, it’s easier for you to put together several classrooms of materials than it is for one volunteer to gather stuff for her or his one class. Often your program can also save money because you can use coupons, shop for deals or get volume or charity discounts. It also gives you the comfort of knowing one of your meaningful, hands-on, memorable activities won’t get changed into a coloring sheet at the last minute because the volunteer didn’t have the time to gather the things needed to do the activity you had planned for the students to do in class.
When people tell me they don’t have the time to do something like that, I encourage them to assign the job to a volunteer. Depending on the size and resources of your program, you may also have access to student interns who can organize materials and activities for you. If not, carefully weigh the costs of your time versus the benefit of volunteers who feel supported and nurtured and students who are going to be getting the activities which will help them get the most out of your time with them. In most cases, I think you may discover the extra effort on your part is more than worth it.