The following article was originally posted by Greg Trimble to his blog. The following is an excerpt.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to sit through some really bad classes and some really good classes during church. The bad classes left me sleepy, somber, and longing to have that hour of my life back. The good classes, on the other hand, inspired me to dig deeper, become better, and try harder in life.
Some might argue that there are just plain ol’ bad teachers with subsequently bad classes. Bruce R. McConkie once said that;
“We come into these congregations, and sometimes a speaker brings a jug of living water that has in it many gallons. And when he pours it out on the congregation, all the members have brought is a single cup and so that’s all they take away. Or maybe they have their hands over the cups, and they don’t get anything to speak of.
On other occasions we have meetings where the speaker comes and all he brings is a little cup of eternal truth, and the members of the congregation come with a large jug, and all they get in their jugs is the little dribble that came from a man who should have known better and who should have prepared himself and talked from the revelations and spoken by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
For the most part, people come to class looking to be edified. Unfortunately, teachers sometimes do things that make it hard for that to happen in their classes.
I don’t believe that there are bad teachers. There are only good teachers that slip into bad habits subsequently annoying their class members. Everyone has something to offer to a classroom as long as they get a few things straight. When class members are annoyed, they stop paying attention or refuse to participate. I’ve noticed that the following 7 things seem to take place in our classes on a regular basis. If you want to be a great teacher, figure out a way to root these out of your system.
1. Start By Apologizing For A Lack of Preparation
This is the worst way to start your lesson off. Whether you just procrastinated til the last minute or your Sunday school president called you at 10pm on a Saturday night…it makes no difference to the class. All you do by telling them that you’re unprepared at the beginning of a lesson is give them a reason to check out early. I know you might be saying it because you want to garner some sympathy from those in the classroom so that they don’t think you’re an idiot, but announcing this doesn’t help your situation. It only impairs it. When you’re in a bind for last minute content, focus 100% of your time on crafting some deep and thoughtful questions. You can take 10 minutes, review the content, and jot down the most important thought provoking questions to ask the class. Then build off of their responses.
Read Trimble’s full article at GregTrimble.com.