Tips for the First-Time Teacher – Part 2
- Invest in a compact rolling storage case or bin. Perhaps you meet in a room that is used for other purposes during the week or in an area where you may not be able to leave your items until the following Sunday. For materials that you need every week and cannot leave in your classroom for fear of their being moved or discarded or rummaged through, consider storing them in a small storage case or bin that may be easily transported from home to your vehicle to the classroom and back again home.
One of our teachers uses a small rolling suitcase to store her weekly lesson, craft or project, visual aids, enrollment cards, decision cards, etc., because she meets in one of our college classrooms. Everything she needs for her Sunday school class hour is stored in that little suitcase which she brings with her on Sundays and takes with her afterward.
- Stockpile materials. While it is true that one mustn’t hoard useless items, it would be prudent for the first-time teacher to amass many Sunday school resources that he may use or draw upon in the nearby or far distant future. Resources would include books or articles about teaching in general or specifically a Sunday school class or about the history of the Sunday school, Bible study books, visuals aids to enhance different lessons or portions of the program, activity or object lesson or illustration books, Sunday school song books and CDs, craft and project materials, inexpensive prizes or gifts, etc. (The list can literally go on and on.) You may not immediately use much of what you’ve accumulated; but you will find later on that you have saved yourself much time and effort by having acquired what you came across at random times.
- Plan to be in your class at least thirty minutes before the hour. You want to make sure that your room is ready for that class hour. Are the chairs or desks in order? Is “happy” music playing? Is the room temperature just right? Are the blinds or curtains pulled open to let in the sunshine? Does the room smell fresh? Are surfaces clean or dusted? Are your materials arranged in such a way that they are within reach should you need them? Your being early will also allow you to meet and fellowship with every student as he or she arrives rather than occupy yourself with class preparation that entire half-hour span.
- Think about the setup of your room. If you have the opportunity to set up your own classroom, consider facing the chairs away from the main entrance door. For instance, if your classroom has one door, you would set up the chairs to face away from that door. If your room has two or more doors, you would set up the chairs to face away from the door through which most people enter. Why?—to minimize reactions to external distractions (i.e., people walking in late, activities in the hallway, etc.) and to lessen the uneasiness of visitors. Imagine being a first-time visitor standing right outside your classroom and knowing for a fact that you did not know another soul on the other side of that door. Now imagine opening the door and finding ten or twenty pairs of eyes staring right at you. That would be quite uncomfortable for anybody—visitor or not.
On a related note, if your room has windows, consider the sun during the 10:00 hour. Will it be shining directly into your students’ eyes? If so, you may want to consider angling the chairs away from the east.
- Consider creating a class bulletin. Think about creating a Sunday school class bulletin. The majority of our adult and a number of our children’s teachers prepare class bulletins every Sunday. Though the information on the different bulletins vary, the purpose of having one is primarily the same: to keep students informed of what is happening in the class and in the church.
Here are a few suggestions on what to include in your class bulletin: a weekly note from the teacher, the opening song, an area for lesson notes, students’ birthdays or anniversaries, missionary highlights, upcoming class activity dates or church events, appropriate anecdotes, prayer requests, etc.