Classroom Tip: Get There Early

ID-10054995 After more than 25 years in the classroom, this tip would be on my "Top 10 List" for effective teaching:

Arrive early to your classroom.

What do I mean by "early"? For me it meant arriving at least 15 minutes before the children arrived.  During that time, I would do things like...
  • Prepare the classroom, making sure everything was "set to go" when the children walked in the door—whether it be organizing tables and chairs, or simply cleaning a whiteboard. It's amazing how a clean, de-cluttered, organized classroom can have a calming effect on the children.
  • Get all the teaching visuals ready so the lesson time flows smoothly, without unnecessary distraction. I lay out all my visuals in the order they will appear in the lesson. I even measure out little strips of tape if I'm going to be taping visuals. I lightly attach the tips of each strip to the teaching podium so with a simple pull they're ready to use.
  • Get myself ready: Often I spend a few minutes simply standing in front of the empty classroom, reviewing and meditating on the biblical truths I will be teaching. I also pray that God would guard my heart and words during the lesson. And I pray for the children.
  • Connect with the other team members and pray together as a group.
Depending on your own family schedule and how your Sunday school time is structured within the timeframe of the wider worship service, this may seem to be an unrealistic goal. But here are some ideas that might make it more workable:
  • If your class meets after the church-wide worship service, plan on doing your classroom prep before the worship service. (I know. Really early!)
  • Think through your typical Saturday night schedule. Can changes be made to allow you to get to bed earlier?
  • Bring your children along. Yes, this really can work! One teacher I know always brought her children with her. The older ones helped her get ready for the lesson or helped with the younger children. We also had a toy and book corner in the room to keep them busy. It worked great.
  • Bring treats! Amy, our Team Leader, always arrived early and put on a pot of coffee. (She actually purchased a coffee maker for our room.) And she brought a delicious treat for our ministry team. So for me, coming early meant never having to worry about missing breakfast.

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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