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Make your classroom work for you

  • 2001 20 Sep
Make your classroom work for you
What if your Sunday school classrooms walls could talk? Would they be inviting children to come in and have a meaningful time, or would they announce that the lesson will be as boring as the room?

The job of teacher requires more than preparation and delivery of a Biblical message. Some elbow grease that is also required.

  • Take responsibility. If you're a teacher, don't resent the time or energy it takes to get your room looking cheerful and inviting. If you're a custodian, don't resent the extra work it takes each September to clean up the place. Work together for success. Assume that you will have some additional heavy-cleaning days throughout the year.

  • Clean. A fresh coat of paint does wonders to liven up a room. Go through proper channels to get this done - professionally or by volunteers. Get rid of clutter - box it or toss it. If you must share your space with another group during the week, invest in storage boxes for each group. Together, decide on clean-up procedures so that you are ready to teach on Sunday mornings.

  • Label rooms. Is the classroom clearly labeled, with a number and a sign stating whose room it is? Make sure the hallway is well lit and clean.

  • Check the ambiance. Students are extremely sensitive to their surroundings. Furniture, supplies, and teaching equipment all contribute to the learning that will take place. Check that there is adequate lighting, ventilation, and heat. Is this a room that students will look forward to coming to each week?

  • Have the right equipment. Make sure you have enough tables and chairs and that they are the appropriate size. Have a cabinet for your supplies, and lockable if necessary. Get a bulletin board and use it for clippings and pictures about accomplishments of students. Have a chalkboard - and chalk. Make sure you have what you need: newsprint, scissors, pens, crayons, tape, etc. You can make due with minimal equipment if you compensate with bright decorations, pictures, and plants.

  • Throw a room party. Invite students to bring inexpensive decorations and supplies for the room - a plant, window ornament, pictures for the walls, stickers, or colored chalk. Make a chart for assigning chores: passing out materials, pushing in chairs, putting away crayons, etc.

  • Host a toy shower. If your nursery or toddler department needs some new toys, invite preschoolers and their parents to bring a gift for the church. Distribute a wish list ahead of time. Ask that the gifts be wrapped. When children arrive, each child can open the gift brought by another child. This eliminates some of the donations that often have missing parts, don't work, or are dirty beyond cleaning.

From The Official Sunday School Teachers Handbook by Joanne Owens. Copyright (c) 1987 by Meriwether Publishing Ltd., Colorado Springs, Colo., 1-800-937-5297. Used by permission.

Joanne Owens received her B.A. from Rhodes College. She served as Christian Education director at the First Presbyterian Church in Dalton, Ga., and at Whitehaven Presbyterian Church in Memphis. She now teaches an adult Sunday school class in Calhoun, Ga., where she lives with her husband and three children.