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This listing is part of our larger "Paste in My Hair" Teacher Forum which includes: "The Lesson Help Lounge," printable Teacher Training handouts, plus discussion about teaching techniques, classroom management, discipline, recruiting teachers, how to write creative lessons and do creative brainstorming, Spirituality and Prayer in the classroom, and more!

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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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The following can be presented as an event, or discussion, or portions of it can be excerpted for your own training purposes.  You can print the following event as a PDF here.

You can also print a one-page Teacher Be-attitudes handout from our "Paste in My Hair"  page.

A Teacher "Be-Attitude" Training Event



The following are nice things  ...but they are NOT teacher training:

  • Serving bagels and coffee.
  • Going over the curriculum, schedule, and policies.
  • Having the pastor deliver a biblical “pep talk."

The truth is that planning and pep-talks are what pass for "training" in a lot of churches, and that perhaps is why actual training has fallen on hard times and attendance is low.

The following "Teacher Be-Attitude" Training Event does these things:

  1. It gets teachers talking.
  2. It models teaching techniques!
  3. And it gives both teachers and leaders the opportunity to share their insights and advice.

Yes, you may need to add your bit of planning, policy, and pep talk; but leave that "stuff" for the end of the event (or a handout) so it doesn't crowd out the opportunity for real sharing and real training.

The Teacher Be-Attitudes Training Event

1. Introductions bee

After a very brief introduction of today's agenda and the leaders, get right into the Teacher Be-Attitudes activity. Avoid "going around the room" and putting people on the spot to introduce themselves. They'll learn who the others are soon enough. (Nametags are a good idea, though).

2. Form Into Sharing-Pairs bee

Have everyone find a partner in the following manner.

  • Invite the teachers to form a line based on how many years of Sunday School teaching experience they have. Most to the right, least to the left.
  • Then assign pairs by matching the most with the least experienced teacher until everyone is paired up, then have them sit together.


3. The Be-Attitudes "Pair-Sharing" Exercise bee

Hand out copies of the Be-Attitudes graphic with these instructions:

a. You have one minute to silently look at all of the Teacher Be-Attitudes and decide which of the Be-Attitudes are your personal answers to the following three questions. After you have picked yours, I'll give you the signal to start sharing with your partner.

The three Be-Attitude questions:

  1. The Teacher Be-Attitude that is one of your strengths.
  2. The one that is your weakness, or that you'd like more help with.
  3. The Teacher Be-Attitude you think is especially important or challenging, and why.

b. Once you've decided on your choices, turn to your partner and in just two minutes per person share the Teacher Be-Attitudes you chose as your answers to the three questions. Have the person who is wearing the most blue go first.

Yes, that's short!  But of course you will fudge on time as needed, and there will be time for follow-up.

While they are sharing... (1) Post an enlarged copy of the Be-Attitudes on a flipchart or list all the "Be's" for all to see. You'll mark this up in the follow-up discussion. (2)  Write or post the three pair-sharing questions for all to see.

After four or five minutes, tell the pairs to wrap it up in 30 seconds, then reconvene the group to "Glean from the Pair-Sharing."

4. Glean from the Pair-Sharing bee

Leader: After the Pair-Sharing, reconvene as a group and go to the list of Be-attitudes you have put on display. Ask the group to share their answers. "Let's see which Teacher Be-attitudes you chose as your strengths, weaknesses, importance, and why."  Circle and "Keep Score" of which Be-attitudes seem to resonate with teachers. It's not important that every single teacher shares every single answer. Mark up the list noting which Be-attitudes teachers seem to have chosen the most. Zero in on the tough ones, asking for advice from the group, and interjecting your own insights. Note the Be-attitude(s) that people didn't seem to choose, and ask why. Keep it moving. Not every discussion point needs a resolution today.

Sharing Tip: Don't let talkative teachers dominate (including yourself!). At some point, toss a fun prop toward someone who is not saying much and tell him or her it's "his turn."  Have him throw it back to you so you can toss it to another teacher, or let him toss it to someone else to answer. (You're training!)

Also note that one of the "Be's..." is not complete. Ask if anyone created their own "Be" and ask them to share it. If you have time, or as you listen to participant sharing, write in possible completions of that final "Be."

A few insights and follow-up questions about the Be-attitudes:

  • Preparation includes prayer and immersing yourself early in the lesson scripture. What preparation reminder works best for you.
  • Dependability includes being there when you don't feel like it. How does it also mean being there for another teacher? a student? a parent?
  • What does "on time" mean in terms of our schedule? How does "being on time" relieve preparation and help you focus on kids?
  • "Be an example" of what? Are you the Bible they read? Are you the Christ they encounter? Where else in the church do they see and learn from you?
  • What does it mean to be "creative"? Is creativity limited to the "activity"?  What about being creative in your welcome, approach to Bible reading, reflections, and prayers?

5. Acting Out the Pair-Sharing Insights bee

The Leader Says: In a moment, I will give you and your partner two minutes to prepare a very very short skit demonstrating one of our Teacher Be-Attitudes to the whole group. You are to come up with a ten-second example illustrating both a "right" and a "wrong" way to "Be" that attitude in the classroom.    Here are the Teacher Be-attitudes we will be acting out:  (Assign ONE to each pair, and yes, if you have more than four pairs there will be duplicates. Remember to include all the leaders/administrators, too. Feel free to change up your list.)

  1. The Right and Wrong Way to Be Prepared
  2. The Right and Wrong Way to Be Part of a Team
  3. The Right and Wrong Way to Be a Listener
  4. The Right and Wrong Way to Be Approachable

Why act out the insights?
Here's a list to share with your participants AFTER the skits.

  • We learn better and remember more when we move, laugh, and share in creative ways.
  • It models a great discussion technique every teacher can use with her students!
  • Acting together builds teamwork and breaks down barriers.
  • It creates teachable moments. Short improvisational skits present an opportunity for the teacher to prime her students with suggestions and to follow up the skit with insightful comments.

6. Closing Teacher Be-Attitude Prayer bee

Standing in a circle, have participants pick a "Be-Attitude" they need help with and form it into a one-sentence prayer request: "Holy Spirit, help me be...."   

Following that requesting-prayer, have each form a thanksgiving prayer, "Holy Spirit, thank you for being...."

Training Event Tips:

  • Get maximum attendance by inviting every teacher to use’s free scheduler to decide on a date and time everyone can attend.
  • Set up your space to be comfortable, and in a way that participants can easily see and interact with one another.
  • Limit planning and policy, such as "The Child Policy Talk," to just a few minutes toward the end of the event. Put details on a handout you can quickly emphasize and they can read later.
  • Put in writing things that can be read and that do not need (much) discussion. Hand out all the papers at the end of the time so they aren't a distraction.
  • Make sure the pastor is part of the event, but tell him/her that you want him to attend as a participant –interjecting insights and appreciating attendees in a personal way. If you want them to provide some "biblical insights for teachers" let them do so as a follow-up to all the training -- what they share should reflect what they've heard.
  • Take photos and videos with your cell phone and share them so that teachers who missed out and other church members can see what a good time you had and what a great job you’re doing!
  • Create a handout of "resources" including, key pages from your curriculum (such as the overview), a copy of a multiple intelligences illustration, and any favorite teaching resources you may have collected in the past.

Insights from "How & Why" We Pair-Shared

Using random fact-matching to assemble pairs and decide who should talk first reduces the anxiety some people feel about "being picked or rejected." It's also a great way to get students to expand their circle of relationships beyond their usual friendships.

Notice the progression from silently thinking to pair-sharing to whole group sharing in this exercise. This allows shy students to warm up and speak where they are most comfortable. The progression to group level discussion allows the teacher to first hear what students are thinking and lets students hear from other students. This also takes the pressure off of the teacher to "produce" and gives them the opportunity to respond to student questions and insights before introducing some conclusions of their own -or that of the lesson plan.

The time-limits not only keep things moving, they encourage participation "before time runs out," and keep certain talkative folks from dominating.

Create an additional education event "About Children"

Create another "training event" to address important issues with experts covering the following topics. In some churches, attendance at such "training" is mandatory.

  • Recognizing and dealing with behavioral issues and discipline.
  • Child Safety.
  • At-risk children.
  • Child developmental stages and strategies.
  • Multiple Intelligences and Attention Spans, best and varied learning practices.

You are welcome to use the graphics attached to this post.
Print this page as a PDF.
Visit for more teacher training, techniques, and great lesson plans and ideas. Thank you for being part of's ministry.


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Training by Lampstanding

Teacher Training throughout the Sunday School year

Print the PDF to get both the Teacher Be-attitudes and Lampstanding articles.


Training should not just be an event.

Events are great, and we even have a great teacher training event described here. But what about the rest of the year? For better or worse, most training is "on the job" --and that type of training can be great IF you have someone helping you, showing you what to do, holding you accountable for the results, and cheering you on.

This "Paste in My Hair" Teacher Training Blog post describes a way to do just that  --how to improve and expand teaching skills as they teach throughout the year --by raising up great ideas and great expectations.

We call it "Training by Lampstanding."

Lampstanding in brief:

Lampstanding values the talent you already have and creative opportunities in upcoming lesson plans and seeks to support it and share it with other teachers.

1. In Lampstanding, the leader raises up the teacher's awareness of a key creative opportunity coming up in a lesson plan. The leaders says, "Hey, I see that you have a really neat Bible study activity coming up in two weeks, Let me help you get prepared for it, then afterward, let's share what you did with our other teachers."

The leaders raises up the expectation that certain upcoming lesson activities and techniques are important, and the leader raises up their level of support to help the teacher make it happen.

2. Lampstanding is raising up a teacher's gifts to not only shine on other students, but shine as an example to other teachers.  (See ways to lampstand to other teacher below!)



The problem that lampstanding seeks to address (other than the need for on-going training) is that a lot of "bushel smooshing" has been going on in Sunday School. In fact, "Bushel-Smooshing" is the opposite of Lampstanding.

Examples of "Bushel-Smooshing"

  • Leaders who hand out lesson plans to teachers and don't follow up on what the teacher may need help with or debrief how the lesson went.
  • Teachers who take the "path of least resistence and simplest preparation" --avoiding creative ideas they are unfamiliar with or require extra effort.
  • Video, music, and drama resources going unused.
  • Worksheet and arts & craft activities being over-used.
  • A teacher who "stays in their lane" subjecting students all year long to the teacher's learning preferences and blindspots.
  • Teachers who think they don't have the time to be creative or try something new.

Bushel-Smooshing eventually leads to teacher and student depletion and darkness. Whereas, lampstanding offers a friendly, supportive (and biblical!) approach to help teachers succeed at being more creative and successful in their lessons, and share their inspiring light with other teachers.

Let's get into a few more "how to" details.


Lampstanding is...

  1. Setting creative expectations higher, instead of hiding them politely under a bushel.
  2. Raising up awareness of the creative techniques in upcoming lessons to make sure the teacher sees them for what they are trying to accomplish, instead of how much work they will be.
  3. Providing resources to help teachers, lessons, and techniques shine. This includes being there to help prep and assist the day of the lesson you have identified.
  4. Following up afterward with teachers about what they learned and would change.
  5. Sharing the results with others.

Lampstanding is also leading by example... identifying new things that will stretch your skill-set and theirs, and after doing them, sharing the light.

Lampstanding is not heavy-handed; it is about caring leadership, and sharing leadership. ⇒It's sharing what you think is exciting in an upcoming lesson plan and offering your hands-on support. It's about expecting and equipping teachers to flourish, and raising up the results to inspire others.

Teachers: "Lampstanding" is about building on your gifts, getting the support you need, and realizing your insights can be a blessing to others --all in an effort to evangelize our kids.

Ways to Lampstand to Other Teachers

Have the teacher describe their creative approach and the kids' reaction to it in an upcoming email to teachers and parents.

Use your cellphone to create a short 1-minute video of the teacher describing what they did and how it was received. (Leader: Show up with your cellphone during class to record 20 seconds of the what the kids are doing, then interview the teacher when the class is over.)

Plan a "Lampstand Sharing" Event -- in which each teacher is given several minutes to describe to the other teachers some of the creative lesson activities they've been using. Work with teachers ahead of time to identify certain activities/techniques that you'd like to see them "present" at the next teacher training get-together.

A Strategy for Getting Started with Lampstanding

1) Raise expectations among the teachers.  Let them know through training events, communications, one-on-one, and your presence alongside them in the classroom, that you want them to embrace creative approaches rather than avoid them, and that you will be there to support them.

2) Find a teacher who wants to be the first to be lamp-standed. Work with him or her to identify, plan, and lead upcoming creative opportunities in their lesson plans. Then LAMPSTAND the DAYLIGHTS out of that upcoming lesson and the results so that others can see and be drawn to its light.  LAMPSTAND the teacher's insights and successes to others via conversations, email, handouts, and discussion at your next get-together. Be there with your cellphone camera to "catch them in the act of being awesome" and share that with your congregation.

Getting resistance? Your less creative teachers may not appreciate being "put on the spot." Thus, even your attempts to "lampstand" may tell you about the condition of the teaching. Start off with teachers who are not afraid to share. Then go to your more-resistant teachers with support in helping them first DO the activity in class, and share it for the first time with others in a non-threatening way (such as via a short story via an email).

Seems so simple, right? (LOL)

Well, it is if you do it, and there’s nothing like putting names and dates on a calendar to get something done.

  1. Find a willing teacher.
  2. Pull out your calendars and lesson plans
  3. Make a plan to do some Lampstanding together.

Finding Lesson Plans and Activities Worthy of Lampstanding

Some curriculum out there simply does not challenge your teachers, let alone your kids. It's "read and talk about this, and color or paste that." In a word: Yuck.

But the better curriculums do have some variety, and a sharp leader or teacher will be able to spot the opportunities in them for lampstanding.

If you're looking for some REALLY CREATIVE lesson plans to stretch your teacher with, then look no further than our own Writing Team Lesson Sets. Whether you're a traditional program or Rotation Model Sunday School, the Team's "extra creative" lesson sets offer you many different approaches to the same story: Art, Drama, Games, Videos, Music, "Science," Software, Cooking, and Movement.

You can also read the Workshop Manuals and workshop forum resources we've written for various workshops. These are full of techniques. Read the Creative Bible Reading and Discussion thread. Read the lesson plans people are sharing to see how they are creatively teaching.

The following is not a commercial, it’s the truth. During our 2015-2018 WT renovation of the Rotation Writing Team lesson sets, we purposefully emphasized including a VARIETY of ways to read the Bible, discuss questions, do interactive reflections, pray, etc.  To cherry-pick this variety of techniques, you only have to look ACROSS the lessons in a set and across multiple sets. Or, simply teach with the lessons in the set, and over time teachers will learn a multitude of techniques. We also added  "teaching tips" in a bunch of the lessons to explain to the teacher the "why" of doing something a certain way.

Lampstanding was written by's resident "Paste in My Hair" bloggers and Christian educators Neil MacQueen and Heidi Weber, with contributions from Amy Crane.

Print the PDF of both this article and the Teacher Be-attitudes Training Event.


Last edited by Neil MacQueen

More Teacher Training Event Content at

Many of the "Paste in My Hair" teacher handouts can be used as training exercises and discussion starters in your training events.

View links to them all in the "Paste in My Hair" forum:

Ten Great Reasons to Teach in Sunday School

 This can also be an opening discussion starter at a training event about why we teach. Which reasons from this list mean the most to you?

Teacher "Be-attitudes" ...a printable, shareable excerpt from our Be-attitudes Training Event. 

 This handout pulls insights from our Be-attitudes Teacher Training Event and includes two discussion questions.

"Low Hanging Fruit" to glean creative teaching ideas straight from the Scripture Text itself.  ...a printable, shareable excerpt from our full "Low Hanging Fruit" article.

 This handout and its full article demonstrate a great "creative thinking" exercise.

What Would Jesus Ask?  ...classroom discussion questions for every lesson. Includes a graphic of kid-friendly discussion questions and a reminder to keep Jesus in all our lessons. See the extended "Jesus Gap" article here.

  Create a training exercise in which teachers apply the questions found on the graphic in this handout to any Bible story you chose.


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Print as a PDF


"No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket,
but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house."
Matthew 5:15

"In the same way, let your light shine before others,
so that they may see your good works
and give glory to your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:16

We often think of Jesus as "the Light" but Jesus himself referred to his disciples as the light (or lamp) that shines. And in the local congregation, few lights shine brighter than that of our Sunday School teachers.

But Jesus didn't just talk about “light.” In Matthew 5:15-16 Jesus talked about the oil lamp that holds and fuels the light, …a light that needs lit. He talked about the basket that can hide the light, and the lampstand that can lift that light higher. In this brief Bible study, we'll consider each important metaphor.

The Teaching Lamp Question

  1. What experience or persons "lit your teaching lamp"?
  2. Name a specific teaching gift (lamp) that you would like help lighting.
  3. Lamps require oil to stay lit. What things do you do or could you do to fuel your passion and preparation for teaching?

The Bushel Basket Question

What are the "bushel baskets" that can get in the way of:

  • your enthusiasm for teaching.
  • your preparation.
  • coming up with creative ideas.
  • sharing your gifts with other teachers.
  • accepting help and oversight.

How do you keep those baskets from hiding the light that Jesus wants you to lampstand?

The Lampstand Question

  1. Other than the leader of your program, who or what supports your teaching ministry the most? (And how do they support you?)

  2. Describe a time when YOU have been a lampstand to others (other than in your classroom), and when someone shared (lampstand-ed) their teaching light with you.

  3. Name one lamp (teaching skill) of yours that you think is especially "bright" and describe how you could share it (lampstand) to others.

Written by Neil MacQueen and Heidi Weber for
Permission to use and adapt as you wish.
Print as a PDF

More Teacher Training Event Content at

The "training event" topic you're in is part of a larger forum of teacher training resources and topics --many of which can be used as training exercises and discussion starters in your training events.

View links to them all in the "Paste in My Hair" forum:

They include...

Ten Great Reasons to Teach in Sunday School

This can also be an opening discussion starter at a training event about why we teach. Which reasons from this list mean the most to you?

Teacher "Be-attitudes" ...a printable, shareable excerpt from our Be-attitudes Training Event.

This handout pulls insights from our Be-attitudes Teacher Training Event and includes two discussion questions.

"Low Hanging Fruit" to glean creative teaching ideas straight from the Scripture Text itself.  ...a printable, shareable excerpt from our full "Low Hanging Fruit" article.

This handout and its full article demonstrate a great "creative thinking" exercise.

What Would Jesus Ask? ...classroom discussion questions for every lesson. Includes a graphic of kid-friendly discussion questions and a reminder to keep Jesus in all our lessons. See the extended "Jesus Gap" article here.

  Create a training exercise in which teachers apply the questions found on the graphic in this handout to any Bible story you chose.

New for 2021

Leap of Faith video splash screen's Training Team has put together a FREE heart-stopping video that captures the excitement, fear, and unknowns of planning for the post-pandemic fall of 2021. Registered and Supporting members can download both the full video and PDF guide.

View the following short preview of the full video.
(a short bit of music kicks in around 12 seconds)

The free full video has more leaps and beautiful flying scenes, along with scripture.

In addition to the free downloadable video, our team has put together a free companion discussion guide for teachers, leaders, pastors, planners, committees, and all those working in children and youth ministry.

The free video is an attention-grabbing two-and-a-half-minute discussion starter. It includes lots of heart-pounding leaps of faith and scripture.

The free handout guides discussion from how we're feeling to what our needs are as we look into the brave new world of post-pandemic ministry.

The full video and guide can only be viewed by our Registered and Supporting Members.
Join today

See and download the full video

See and download the PDF discussion guide

Why the "Leap of Faith" imagery and title

Fall 2021 is shaping up to be one of the most important and challenging in the life of many Sunday schools and children & youth ministries. The pandemic has created uncertainty, even fear among some of our volunteers, parents, and leaders. The video's "wingsuit" imagery captures that feeling those feelings. It grabs the viewer's attention and reminds them that great challenges have always been part of our work.

The discussion guide accompanying the video will help your folks voice their concerns and think about their preparation as they get ready to make the unprecedented "leap" of renewal this fall and beyond.

The scriptures that appear in the video and guide remind us that "soaring" is what we do, and we don't do it alone.

The video and guide were produced by the "Leap of Faith" Team here at, a group of Christian educators and pastors who are making the leap with you in their own churches. Team members:  Ron Shifley, Luanne Payne, Amy Crane, Robin Stewart, and Neii MacQueen. Paid for by Inc. Created using Powtoons. See the video for visual and music credits.


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