Pastors and Sunday School Superintendents alike often ask, “How can I motivate my teachers?” They often struggle with getting their teachers to come early for prayer, to do absentee follow-up, keep their rooms clean and decorated, and to help reach attendance goals. Clearly, motivation is the key to a vibrant, growing Sunday school and Sunday school staff. But the problem is how to effectively encourage these areas without nagging or embarrassing them.
Many have tried the “Teacher of the Month” approach. Often times the teacher is asked to fill out a weekly evaluation as to their faithfulness in various areas. From this and other criteria, a teacher is selected and presented with a “Teacher of the Month” certificate and their name perhaps engraved on a wall plaque. Hopefully the recognition encourages the teachers to be faithful in the various requirements of the Sunday school ministry.
However, a problem often arises. Every church seems to have two or three teachers that naturally excel. Whether because of talent, burden, more time, or some other reason, they seem to always score the highest. What happens is that “Sis. Jones” and “Bro. Carl” get the “Teacher of the Month” award most of the time. The other teachers become discouraged. “Why should I even try?” they say. “I could never do as good as Sis. Jones.” The result: The award goes to a select few and the others simply give up.
Some have tried to solve this problem by making a rule that you can only get the award once each year. The response becomes, “That’s fine, but there are only eleven teachers in our Sunday school. If I simply do nothing it will eventually come to me anyway.” The end result is little motivation and some times hurt feelings.
Is there an answer? Is there an effective way to motivate, encourage, and challenge the Sunday school staff to quality and excellence in their ministry?
Yes, and it’s called, Aim for Excellence. It is a way to give “honor to whom honor is due.” Everyone appreciates being appreciated. No one likes to be taken for granted. Aim for Excellence allows every teacher to set their sights upon a basic “standard.” This standard for excellence becomes their monthly goal and a way to evaluate performance.
How Aim for Excellence Works
Churches using this program will first need to obtain the Aim for Excellence form (see the end of this article). This form is used as a master to make monthly copies for their staff. After meeting with your Sunday school staff and explaining the program, one form is given to each teacher or class worker with their name written at the top. That teacher will use this single form for the entire month. Each Sunday morning of that month, the teacher should be handed his or her form when they arrive. They will then evaluate themselves in each of the areas listed: First they write down what time they arrived. If they were on time for teacher’s Sunday morning prayer meeting they receive 20 points. If they were in their classroom on time they receive another 20 points. If they completed their absentee follow-up on all absent students they receive 20 more points. If they prayed for their students daily, calling each by name they receive 15 points. If they spent at least one hour preparing their lesson that week they receive 15 points. If their room was clean and decorated before arriving on Sunday Morning they receive 10 points. When they add up their points for that week, here is a possibility of 100 points.
It should be stressed to the teachers that this is a self evaluation. The scores are not being used to “police” a teacher’s performance. But rather, this evaluation is between them and God. Every teacher hopefully wants to do a good job. This program will help them determine how they are doing and in what areas they can improve.