As Christine talked about in her post earlier this week, we are aiming for something of eternal significance in Crossing Kids: for kids to develop a lifetime relationship with Christ. This post is written for all the teachers in Crossing Kids who commit themselves to teaching the gospel of grace in order to help children follow Jesus all their days.
As teachers in Crossing Kids, we know implementing a lesson successfully can be challenging. There are countless variables that impact how a lesson might go: the kids, the materials, the space, the time, the other leaders, the technology. However, no other variable has as much impact on the success of your lesson as the variable of teacher preparation.
How do we prepare to teach a lesson in Crossing Kids? Is it just reading the lesson through a couple of times on Saturday night? I admit, some weeks, this has been my level of preparation and I see the effects of it on Sunday morning. I feel under-prepared and because kids are so smart, they pick up on this. I come away from these lessons feeling I didn’t hit the mark I’d hoped to.
Below are 8 steps for preparing to teach a lesson in Crossing Kids. I’ve learned that all 8 steps are critical for setting myself and the kids for a successful morning of learning together. The weeks I prepare to this level, I am better equipped to sit back and see God working in the kids’ hearts to know Him better. Truly, as teachers, this is what we are called to: to put everything we can into teaching this next generation so that these kids would develop a lifetime relationship with Christ. It’s worth it.
8 Steps for Preparing to Teach a Lesson
1. Put in the time. Early in the week (ideally Monday or Tuesday), sit down for an hour with your lesson, Bible, pen, highlighter, and post-it notes – and a cup of coffee. Set aside some time Saturday afternoon/evening to go over your lesson again so it is fresh in your mind on Sunday morning.
2. Pray for God to teach you and the children through His life-giving word. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work through you to draw the kids in your group closer to Christ. Humbly ask God to use you for His glory and to build His kingdom.
3. Read the scripture your lesson is about. It’s great to read from a Study Bible, so you can read the notes covering the scripture you will be teaching on. You want to have a solid and deep understanding of what God is saying in His word before you teach.
4. Examine the objectives – Define the “win.” See what it is the kids are supposed to know and/or be able to do at the end of lesson. Clarify these in your mind and see how you can help kids achieve these objectives in the time you have with them. Pray for God’s help.
5. Consider your audience – Think about the age of the kids, the class size, the other leaders in the room (and how to utilize them!), the kids’ developmental and cognitive abilities, cultures, backgrounds, and interests. This will help you tailor your lesson to the group you are working with.
6. Consider the environment – How much space will you have for your lesson? Will you start the lesson sitting on the carpet or at the tables? Will you sit on the floor with the kids or stand while you talk? Will you move the tables around the make room for the game? Think about the physical space and make and notes or diagrams to help you prepare what you will do.
7. Do the activities ahead of time – any crafts, experiments, or games need to be done by the teacher prior to teaching. Make sure you understand the materials and directions so well that you will not need to refer to your notes on Sunday morning.
8. Memorize the lesson. Seriously. Teachers are most effective when they are not reading and referring to their notes. When you memorize what you will say and do during the lesson, your mind is freed up to engage with the children. You also will have much more credibility with the children when they see you talking to them, not reading a piece of paper.
Father God, we pray that you would help us, the teachers in Crossing Kids, to put in the time and effort necessary to prepare for our lessons. We pray you would use us to plant seeds of faith into the children of The Crossing. May they hear the truth, love Your Word, and cherish Christ above all else in their lives. It is a joy to be in your service, God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.