Project 365, Day 4

I believe in a well-prepared classroom.

Correction: I firmly believe in a well-prepared classroom.

When my students enter that classroom I want them to see that I’m not just throwing something together. I want them to know that I’m ready for them. I want them to know that I want them to have the best possible opportunity to learn.

So, the chairs are arranged differently almost every time. If I want them to focus on the nuances of the Bible verses I’m teaching (like I did last night), the chairs will face the huge whiteboard…which has the main verses we’re emphasizing written in one color and Greek words that are insightful in another. I have pertinent verses that add “color” to the main section we’re studying already on the board when they walk in. I make sure to leave one of the whiteboards blank except for the words “Applications To Our Lives” on it.

If I want them to make the correlation to a movie clip I might be using to the Scripture we’re studying, the chairs face the screen we have installed. If I want them to focus on the worship/praise aspect they face the stage. If I want them to focus on prayer, I might have the chairs in small groups. If I want them to hash through something together, the chairs might be around a table.

I think the environment when the student hits the door communicates something quite clearly to the learners, man. It’s very important.

So much so that I spend a half-hour to 45 minutes preparing the room. I make a conscious decision to have the video games on or off. Maybe if the Cowboys are playing and the game is ending as my students arrive (which happens a few times a year) we turn it on the big screen so those students can enjoy the end together. Sometimes it might be reflective music or other times super upbeat & loud. Lighting is important, too…sometimes bright, sometimes darker, sometimes just candles.

That meticulous routine also helps me to get mentally ready to teach, too. I’m sure everybody has their “pre-game” rituals in their work. Those little things they do to prepare to do their best. Mine is room set-up. I mean, we have college students at our church employed to do that very thing and I guess I could avail myself to that…

…but it would rob me of the chance to think-through what it is I want to communicate. To pray for my students. To pray for guidance & assistance from the Holy Spirit. I mean, I’ve been entrusted with communicating the highest truths to people God loves. And I want to give them the best possible environment to learn what He would have them learn at that moment.

I don’t take that lightly.
I can’t take that lightly.
I won’t take take that lightly.

And, setting up chairs, thinking and praying as I go, reminds me that 45-minute shot I have to teach and to engage my students might be the most important moment in somebody’s life…

…and that I ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie.