From my experience as a catechist, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten things that can go wrong when teaching a class. These are not in any order. Do these resonate with your experience? What else would you add?
- Your audiovisual equipment either didn’t show up or doesn’t work
- You find yourself short on the amount of books, handouts, or materials needed
- You are emotionally and/or physically run down and can’t find the energy needed to teach this lesson
- Your students totally misunderstand the complex directions you thought you just explained, and everything is up for grabs
- A student stumps you with a question that you have no idea how to answer—e.g.: “Did Judas go to hell?” or “Why can’t women be priests?” or “If we’re eating the Body and Blood of Jesus at communion, doesn’t that make us cannibals?”
- The lesson, video, or text turns out to be a lemon
- A minor discipline problem makes you lose your train of thought —e.g.: giggling, side talking, tapping a pen, a well-timed burp (or other gastrointestinal sound effects), etc.
- An interruption (someone at the door) allows the students just the sliver of opportunity they needed to create a disruption
- Someone (a guest speaker or student scheduled to do a presentation) doesn’t show up when they are supposed to
- You’re done with your lesson and you still have thirty-five minutes to go!
“If you are going through hell, keep going.”—Sir Winston Churchill
#1 happened to me just last week.
I was covering for the DRE who was ill and then 2 teachers called out as well. Not being able to teach 2 classes at once I moved all the kids into one big room to show a video based on the book “The Proud Tree”. (great story if you haven’t read or seen this)
Well, being technically challenged as I am, I couldn’t get the the VCR to work properly. Luckily a mom who walked her child in and saw my frustration, was able to help me get the movie working.
Lauretta, thank goodness you were able to get the movie working. I once facilitated a confirmation retreat that was relying upon a half-dozen or so video clips interspersed over a 4-hour retreat…each clip was to introduce the next session. The DRE arranged for a pre-historic VCR that chewed up my first tape and rendered the machine useless for the rest of the day! I was looking at 4 hours of shifting gears! That was a long day!