Jenny's blog

I survived my (second) first day of Seminary!

Whew. I don’t know about you, but I did not sleep well before my first day of Seminary this morning. A friend came over and we talked for several hours, and so I didn’t get my last minute things finished before class last night. The first Seminary text came in at 4:40am, so I figured that was a sign and just got up. I had realized during the night that I forgot to make new name sticks for the prayer bucket (GAH!), and I decided last minute to change my chairs around. My fourth table isn’t in yet, and so four students were without a table. I spent a lot of time last year trying to get the tables just right so that I could foster discussion and manage the classroom better. You can see some of my earlier thinking about classroom setup here.

Originally I was planning to set up the tables like this:

This setup allowed everyone to see each other perfectly, but because my easel and dry erase board have to be off center, kids on the very edges can’t see. (I’m limited in the opposite direction because of some couches that I’m hoping not to have to move for Seminary.

During the night I had a brainstorm and decided to move them into the following configuration:

This worked out very well. While a few students could not see each other, the majority could, and it moved the table that I have my potential troublemaker in right in front of me when I’m teaching. Since that group doesn’t have a table yet, I pushed a sofa table into that spot for the time being. It’s not ideal, but it will work for a few days.

Today’s class went surprisingly well! (Except that the bus didn’t come…. more on that later…) A member of the Bishopric came and gave a short welcome from the Bishop. He is a former Seminary teacher, and his message was perfect and right in line with the focus of my lesson — developing a friendship with the Savior. My class president, who wasn’t a strong leader as vice president last year, did a fantastic job and has really stepped into her role. She will be great. I gave my 2 minute devotional. I kept getting flustered, but held it together. Nerves.

My lesson objectives were that new students would begin to feel comfortable at Seminary, and that students would learn that they can develop a friendship with the Savior through study and obedience. For the first objective, I put several questions a new student might ask about Seminary in a container. New students picked a question and an “expert” (student who had attended my class for most of last year) to answer their questions. I was pretty confident this would go well because I knew my students, and it did! Here are some of the questions I put in the hat:

  • What is scripture mastery and why do we memorize scripture mastery passages?
  • Where do I sit when I come to Seminary?
  • What happens if I’m late or miss too many days?
  • What is the Magic Toilet? (inside class joke)
  • I’m embarrassed to ask, but where is the bathroom?
  • The reading last night really got me thinking, and I have some questions. What can I do?
  • What is the prayer bucket?
  • What is a zone? What is a zone leader?
  • How long does it take to do the reading each day? Is it hard?
  • Why do you get up so early every morning to come to Seminary?

My experts really did a great job. Luckily, the “why do you get up so early” question was the last one asked, and that student did a really great job answering. After a brief bit of concern about the bathroom again, we took a quick walk down the hall to the bathroom. Yes, me, 16 teenagers, and my 10 year old walked in a straight line to observe a “magic” toilet. The absurdity!

After that ridiculousness was done I had the kids sit at their tables, and we did our lesson. I wrote the word friend up on the board and asked them to describe a perfect friend. Noted their words on the board. When they slowed, I pointed out that Jesus Christ called some people his friends in the scriptures. Read D&C 83:77. It was his apostles. Our modern-day Friends of Christ, or our modern apostles, have written a document describing their friend Jesus Christ. It’s The Living Christ (which they read the night before). We underlined some characteristics of Christ’s in the document. I’d like us all to be able to say we are friends of Christ’s. We then read John 15:13–15 and D&C 84:77. Jesus’ friends are the apostles in these verses. He gave his friends the instruction to keep his commandments and to be like his friends/apostles in the days when he was on the earth. Our study of the NT will help us learn more about the Savior and his friends. By trying to be like these NT heroes and by being obedient, we can become Christ’s friends.

It was pretty good. Not my best ever lesson, but definitely a solid effort. It went well considering how nervous I was.

At least this year, I didn’t sweat so hard my deodorant quit, like last year!

Afterward, the bus never showed up, so I ended up driving several kids to class. This, after the school district changed our bus time back several minutes causing the parents a lot of problems getting the bus route changed. We even moved Seminary start time back to 6:00 am to accommodate the school. As it turned out, another bus broke down and so our kids’ bus drove over to pick up those kids. The bus driver is new, and I think she just forgot our kids. Hopefully tomorrow it will go smoothly. If the bus does come later, we will move Seminary start time back to 6:10.

Posted by Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I blog about life on the 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where I live. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs while trying to find my life's meaning. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.