Since moving back to a family ward I have spent most of my time working with the youth. Other than a brief stint as a Relief Society teacher (cushiest calling ever…) I have either worked in the Sunday School with the 14-15 year olds or as the Laurels advisor. I found Sunday School to be particularly challenging, both because the mixing of genders often changes the dynamic, and because you tend to have less of a personal relationship with the kids than if you work in the Young Women/Men organization. To make matters worse, when I was teaching Sunday School we were still using the Gospel Doctrine manual, which had no suggested activities and was in no way tailored to help teachers reach teenagers. I like to think my frequent complaining letters about this through lds.org helped them move toward the new curriculum.
The women of Exponent II were having a conversation on the backlist about how to work with youth and there were so many good ideas that we decided to make it into a post. Many of these ideas come from the other bloggers. If you readers have any more ideas of how to make church more engaging for teenagers, we would love to hear them.
If this is the first time teaching your class, have all the students introduce themselves and say what grade they are in, where they go to school, and what they are interested in doing post-graduation