I wonder how it is that we settled on the model of one catechist per 12-15 students for religious education.
It occurs to me that if we really wanted to invite young people into an apprenticeship in the Catholic way of life, that we would surround them with more adults. I see no reason why a “class” of 12-15 young people couldn’t be accompanied by 4 or 5 adults.
I know that DREs will say that it’s hard enough to recruit catechists already…how can they be expected to recruit 4 to 5 times that number? The key would be that we would not be recruiting them to the role of catechist as it is understood today. Rather, we would be recruiting them to be a member of a catechetical team, facilitated by one person designated as the catechist. The other adults would be present to help with group work, to facilitate various parts of the lesson (for example, a prayer leader), to help maintain discipline, to work one-on-one with certain students, and to share their stories and life experiences.
Not only would some folks be more willing to participate in the catechetical ministry, but those who are truly called to the role of catechist would not have to struggle on their own to maintain the attention of 15 (and, in many cases more) students.