On Monday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the first catechist meeting of the upcoming religious education year. The meeting went very well and there is a wonderful spirit among the catechists and staff. The pastor and DRE offered warm welcomes and the Deacon and his wife offered a very helpful formation session on understanding the Bible with a focus on the Old Testament.
I also had the pleasure of meeting my catechist aide. Most of the aides are high school students, however, my aide, Kris, is a professional 3rd grade teacher in a public school! She is very excited to be participating in the RE program and I am very excited to have her as an aide. Here is the e-mail I sent her as a followup:
Kris, thanks for sending me your contact info. I look forward to working with you. While the high school aides are nice to work with, I like the idea of having another adult in the room to team with.
I will rely on you a great deal, not just for taking care of business such as distributing materials and taking attendance, but for helping to facilitate learning, especially when we do group work which requires supervision and input for the kids.
If you’re comfortable with it, I will often ask you to share your thoughts and experiences concerning various topics. The more they hear from adult witnesses, the more they will feel encouraged to do so themselves.
I think your most important job will be to just develop a rapport with them…not trying to be their best friend, but establishing lines of communication that express the fact that we respect them, want to talk with them, and want to listen to them.
I will most likely send you an e-mail each week with some thoughts, ideas, and info about the upcoming session. Feel free to share any insights and suggestions along the way.
I look forward to working with you, Kris, as we embark on this spiritual journey with our 8th graders! Thanks! -joe
Let’s hear it for all of our catechist aides who are a very important presence in our catechetical settings!