Put It On The Bottom Shelf

Teaching is not only preparing and presenting a lesson. Teaching is a great responsibility. Teachers in church must teach spiritual truth simply, so all can understand. Sometimes teachers forget how much they know. Information that is easy for a teacher to know and understand may be more difficult for a student of any age.

Example: A parent sometimes forgets that children cannot reach things in the upper cabinet. When I was in fifth grade, one night my father asked me to get him some aspirin from the cabinet above the sink, which I had done several times before. Our friends had just left, and Dad had a headache. I loved to climb, so I jumped up on the cabinet, made my way past the good china dishes, still on the dish rack, got the aspirin out of the cabinet, and turned to jump down. I had no idea that my pajama leg had hooked on the dish rack cup holder. When I jumped, all of the china dishes followed me to the floor. I was not hurt, but my mom cried because I broke her best china. If the aspirin had been on a low shelf, the accident would not have happened. In much the same way, teachers must make their lessons simple and easy to learn. Put the lesson on the bottom shelf.

Consider these thoughts:

  • Even though you spoke or signed, they may not have understood.
  • It is more important to teach a Bible principle than to finish teaching your outline.
  • Be creative! Change makes learning fun.
  • Repetition, more than one time, in various interesting ways, over and over again, can be a teacher’s friend.
  • It is better to present your lesson slowly, following a natural progression of thought.
  • Teachers should prepare much more than they have time to teach.
  • Do not teach a lesson, teach people.

Teachers, consider these questions:

  • Did you help the students apply the lesson to real-life situations?
  • Did the students respond throughout the lesson?
  • Did your students leave with unanswered questions? Why?
  • How can you improve next time?

Good teachers make their lessons easy to understand. Good teachers learn and improve each time they teach. That is why they become good teachers.


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