Preparing a lesson at the last minute? Bless your heart for even taking it on!
Do away with the guilt about not picking up the manual a week ago when you “should have” and give a wonderful lesson instead. Some of the best classes I’ve ever been to are impromptu and spontaneous.
Here’s how I get ready for a lesson when I’ve run out of time:
- Read the questions at the end of the lesson material first. The questions will quickly orient you to the primary object of the lesson.
- Select 3 or 4 questions which most resonate with you or pique your interest.
- For each question, find the material in the lesson which answers that question. Often the questions will tell you which section or right where to find the answers!
- Prepare the corresponding lesson material to those chosen questions as a series of quotes to be handed out and read by class members (or expounded on by you). If it is a story, be ready to tell it in your own words if you can.
- After you’ve presented the corresponding quotes or story or expounded lesson material, turn the questions you’ve chosen into a discussion session . For example, at the end of lesson 7 Gordon B. Hinckley, a question which appeals to me is: “What have you learned from your own experiences about recognizing communications from the Holy Ghost”? Some discussion-promoting versions of this question would be – 1. Have you ever felt the Holy Ghost? 2. What happened & how did the experience help you? 3. If you were to describe how the Holy Ghost feels, what words would you use?
- Remember, the best classes usually have around 50% of the time devoted to class-members talking and sharing. So anything you can do to promote lots of discussion is a win-win.
- When the current section & question topic feels like it is wrapping up, sometimes it helps to summarize it in your words, reflecting some of the class-members comments and move on to the next topic with questions. Repeat until the bell rings.
- Remember the 4-second rule. Ask a question, and if no one raises their hand within 4 seconds, repeat the question in different words. And pause. Never be afraid to pause! In number 5 above, you can see I asked the same question more or less in 3 different ways. If I asked the first and got no response, I would wait four seconds and state the second one and then wait.
- Be ready to answer any of the questions yourself, in case you need to jump-start a reluctant discussion. Some of the best discussions happen after a delayed response from the class. People need time to reflect and absorb what you’re asking of them.
- Feel good about the wonderful gospel material we’ve been given to launch a meaningful class session. You’re leading a discussion more than anything else, so no pressure to sound like a brilliant lecturer or General Conference speaker.
Prayer is majorly helpful here too! Good luck.
Extra: 9 Tips To Memorable Teaching