Unfortunately, the nicks of life can bleed a long
time. And the scars are forever. So consider your next
Preparing to teach is like shaving your head. It has to be done
This past week I became a card-carrying member of The Bald and
Beautiful. I not only let down my hair, I shaved it off. My noggin
is now as smooth as silk.
Each morning in the shower, I carefully soak and soap my cranium
for several minutes, preparing it for the daily blade. As my skin
softens beneath the heat and soap suds, I cautiously begin my first
pass with the razor. My properly placed mirror serves as a guide to
ensure no area is missed. I’d look quite goofy with a partly shaved
This extra touch removes the final flints of follicles. When my
shower is complete, I reward my skin with a final buffing of skin
softener and then face the mirror with a bald confidence.
Yesterday, though, in my hurry to get to work, I failed to prepare
properly. I didn’t soften the skin long enough. I used an old
blade. I shaved faster and more recklessly.
Ouch! Oooh! Oops.
My razor nicked a fold of skin. The blood oozed. The shower
temporarily washed away the painful reality. But in a few moments,
I faced the mirror and a bloody truth. My head was marked with
small rivers and ponds of red. I quickly tore tissues to blot the
As I got dressed with a half pound of tissues stuck to my head, I
looked like the poster boy for a Red Cross blood drive. One
particular nick bled all day. My students were kind, but keen. A
few stared with wry smiles. Some tried to ignore my red-marked
cranium. Others were more verbal. “You and your razor had fun this
morning, eh?” “I think you missed a spot.” “You look good in red,
Fortunately, by day’s end the torture was over and the healing of
my head had begun. My head was marked with tiny scabs. And it was
then that I realized a truth.
If you don’t prepare, you repair.
Preparing to teach is like shaving your head. And if you don’t do
it right, it’s a bloody mess. And if you don’t do it right, you
look a bit goofy. And if you don’t do it right, people will notice
and respond (mostly negatively). And if you don’t do it right, you
get a headache.
Proper preparation in teaching is essential to every other aspect
in the teaching-learning experience. Creativity is nicked when we
don’t prepare, and boredom is the bloody result. The flow of the
lesson is cut when we don’t prepare, and discipline problems
surface. Preparation ensures a smooth sweep of study in God’s Word
(which is sharper than any two-edged sword!).
Sometimes we think we’re fine because the waters of children’s
enthusiasm, our personal agenda, and class attendance wash away the
bloody evidence. We think we’re successful until our instruction is
revealed in the mirror of life. John cheats on a test (despite your
lesson on honesty the week before). Carlos drops quietly from class
and is never seen again. Kristin converts to a cult. Lori graduates
to middle school and no longer comes to church.
And you wonder what happened. What went wrong?
If you don’t prepare, you repair.
Unfortunately, the nicks of life can bleed a long time. And the
scars are forever. So consider your next lesson. Are you thinking
beyond the hour it’s taught? If this were the last lesson you ever
delivered, would it be sufficient? Would it hit the mark? Would
your teaching change your learners’ lives? Would God use it to
cause a change of heart?
Are you teaching like there’s no tomorrow? Do you teach like the
future depends on it? Those are good questions. And I’d love to pen
more insight, but I can’t.
It’s time to shave — again.
Rick Chromey is a Christian education professor at St. Louis
Christian College in Florissant, Missouri.