I still vividly remember the day—about 17 years ago—that I made a sweet little first grader break down in tears in front of a roomful of children. It definitely wasn’t in my lesson plan for the day, but after it happened I learned a very valuable lesson—always think through, and thoughtfully plan ALL of your lesson. What do I mean by that? Well, I had always been convinced that I needed to spend time carefully preparing for the actual Bible teaching of the lesson—after all, that should be the main thing in every lesson. But there are other things to consider. For example, how will you present a certain illustration that is designed to help the children better understand a biblical truth? And that is where I failed to think ahead.
The lesson that day was to present the biblical truth that God is almighty. He is all-powerful. So I prepared for the lesson…
- The Bible texts were carefully underlined in my Bible.
- I had meditated on the texts during the week.
- I had prayed for myself and the class.
- My visuals were all prepared and ready to go.
But one thing I didn’t prepare for…
- The beginning lesson illustration was to show that we are not all-powerful. We are limited in our strength. I was to choose a student to come to the front of the class and give that student a sturdy sack to hold. Then, one by one, I was to add heavy objects to the sack until the child could no longer hold it anymore.
No problem. Why would I need to think through doing that? … But think about it for a moment. Think of a very shy, quiet child. One who never has spoken in class. One who won’t even raise her hand. This is her very first time to volunteer for anything. And I am calling her up front in order to been seen by everyone, to FAIL at something. No wonder she cried. I would have cried too. (And I wanted to cry with her when I realized what I had done!)
So along with Bible teaching preparation, there is also preparing for things such as illustrations and class participation. I didn’t think through the lesson illustration very carefully. I should have asked, “What kind of child would be best suited for this illustration? A meek child or a bold child? Who might I call on for this illustration?”
In her seminar, Elementary Lesson Preparation and Presentation, experienced teacher Liz Stein gives many helpful tips to thoroughly prepare for teaching a lesson.
You can also read the notes.