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.
- 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 FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)