Jenny's blog

Two week veteran

I was getting worried yesterday afternoon that I wasn’t going to have time to prepare my lesson. People kept calling and coming over related to the upcoming Time Out for Women, and the DAR thing, plus I set up a VT appointment and some other stuff. Jared ended up taking DS to mutual so I could finish preparing my lesson. I really can’t tell you how long I took since I kept getting tiny little snippets all day long.

Now I’ve taught for 2 weeks. Well, almost two weeks since I missed Monday. But so far things are going okay. Today I tried to let the class president control the class during opening exercises, which didn’t work so well. I will have to back her up a little better. She always makes announcements about school stuff, too, and I am not sure why. I think I’ll talk to her about that next week. I’m going to have the VP conduct next week anyway, and since she is homeschooled she won’t know about any school stuff to announce anyway.

Today’s lesson was Moses 4. What a great chapter. I could easily spend 2-3 days on this material. Today was the first day I didn’t have an immediate idea about how to attack the material, so I used the manual. I was, honestly, surprised but pleased that the material was helpful. Out of the 3-4 suggestions I was able to use 2 effectively with my class. I used the War in Heaven section and the Agency exercise today. Agency was particularly good, in my opinion. Both went pretty well. Before class I grabbed a student who arrived early and asked him to help me when we got to section four of the Agency lesson. I asked him to keep whoever was sitting beside him from grabbing the treat. He liked doing it and it kept the kids’ attention.

One thing was missing from the lesson in the manual, but I didn’t realize it until the end. The push was that the War in Heaven continues here, and that Satan uses the same tactics he used then, now. While reviewing what we learned, I told the kids that Satan tries to persuade us to give up our agency by telling us that

1) law — Satan says rules are restrictive, it’s better to have no law (but that doesn’t help us progress)
2) no choice — Satan teaches you don’t have freedom to choose because you were “born that way”
3) knowledge — Satan will try to keep you from getting knowledge to make good choices. “Church is boring. Seminary is lame.” etc.
4) freedom to choose — we can loose our freedom to choose when we become enslaved by addictions.

Now, the kid I asked to grab the candy was the kid I had in mind when planning this lesson. I was hoping that he would be first to class so that he could be the one to block the candy, which he was, luckily. Sometimes he has trouble paying attention in class, and I felt like this might help in some way. It worked, apparently. At the end of class, that student grabbed his notebook and copied down the scripture references and information from the board. Sweet.

It’s plain that I’m receiving inspiration (sometimes) about who will need a particular lesson. It’s not big things, and I don’t think any of this stuff will change their lives dramatically, but God knows the mind of His children, and He will get the job done, even by using an imperfect teacher: me.

One other thing that went well was when I asked a student to read Satan’s words in Moses 4:1. She used a Voldemort type voice (which was EXTREMELY creepy). I was about to ask the kids how Satan would have talked, when a STUDENT pointed it out! Awesome. We got to talk about how Satan would be addressing the crowd and how persuasive he would have been. I think they really got it when we talked about point 1 above: the idea that having no laws or rules would be desirable.

During class one student piped up with an audible “Wow”. I made some remark, and he said, no it’s not about what you were talking about, but I just realized I would have looked right at Jesus, *this* close. Another good thing.

Another positive thing that happened was that the friend of our student’s brother — the one that our student was fasting for and that we prayed for — his blockage passed and he will not be needing surgery. It was a blessing for him and his family. I hope that our students learned something as well.

I’m so glad that I went to Sister Diamond’s class during inservice so that she could teach about Moments. I knew right when I hear it that was the reason I was in that class that day. If this was the only little miracle we get to share with each other, it will be enough, but I feel certain we’ll hear others from these great kids.

It’s funny, I think if someone would have asked me today how class went, I would have said fine, but looking back at the little things that happened, I think that it was a pretty great lesson.

You know, I think if I were teaching this subject matter again, I would not organize my first two weeks as suggested in the pacing guide. It’s annoying to teach plan of salvation and then reteach plan of salvation again days later in the PGP and Genesis. I think I would group the content so that we could hit some PofS topics really hard over the course of the 2 weeks instead of doubling up and feeling rushed. I think I’d probably do something like Foreordination, War in Heaven, Agency, Creation 1, Creation 2, Fall 1, Fall 2, and Adam is Obedient.

One very positive thing is that my class is not obsessed with food as I was expecting. Some Seminary teachers told me they use treats every day for different activities, but with my class if I use treats in class, fine. If not, they’re fine. When we played our game the other day I was expecting them to ask for treats for the winner. They didn’t, so I didn’t offer treats. I think this is one advantage of having a male teacher who taught this class before I did. I think he was probably less likely to give out treats that a female teacher would have been, which makes it much easier for me.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it or not, but I try to write scripture references up on the easel before class along with a kind of outline for me to use when teaching. I think it helps the kids know what we’re covering and helps me stay on track. From a subconscious standpoint, it tells the students that I have a plan and that I’m organized and ready for class. Plus today one student wrote down the references from the board, and he could not have done that were they not posted.

And today I gave one student his handout on the Adamic tongue, and I told the class that I loved their questions and I would try to help them find out answers. I also talked about the other student’s mention of Pangaea, or when the world was divided and had them cross reference Genesis 10:25 with D&C 133:24 or 25, whichever it is, since we won’t be reading Genesis 10. We spent all of 2 minutes on it, but I decided to go ahead and touch it really fast. I am always trying to give them keys that will help them when issues, possibly controversial, come up later.

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.