Thrown a Curveball

This past Monday, as I prepared to teach my lesson on the Sacraments of Initiation using Learning Stations, I was thrown a curveball. As I entered my classroom to get things set up, I saw that the school teacher who uses that room each day had decided to totally re-arrange the classroom!


I had been mentally visualizing exactly how I was going to set up my learning stations only to find that the furniture was completely re-arranged. Luckily, I had arrived 45 minutes ahead of time and was able to adapt without too much panic! To top it all off, the beautiful table that I’ve been using as a prayer center was gone…vanished…nowhere in sight! I had to adapt here as well (a couple of desks put together) since the prayer table is a big part of our learning environment.

Ah, the life of a catechist! What’s a curveball that you’ve been thrown and needed to quickly adapt to?

About Joe Paprocki 2739 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

8 Comments on Thrown a Curveball

  1. Twice so far this year, I’ve shown up for my class and it turns out I have a new student! Making sure they have all of the books and papers and whatnot that they need can sometimes be a scramble there.

    • John, this is a common curveball that I forgot about, occurring often in the early part of the year. “Scramble” is a good word for what we do to react to these situations! 🙂

  2. I too use a classroom that is shared by other Faith Formation classes through out the week. Last week when I came to class my room was also totally re-arranged. Usually I will leave the tables where they are but last week, I arranged the tables in a horse shoe pattern with a small table in the center for our advent wreath. At the end of class I made sure the class was set up in a reasonable fashion. Like you said, good thing we arrive early…just in case.

    • Josie, when rooms are used by a variety of groups, it can be hard to figure out exactly how to leave the room arranged when you’re done!

  3. thank you for the inspriration. a few weeks ago i threw a curveball at catechist without any intention and not even realizing. I received very hurtful words. After apologizing, the other catechist did not offer a response in return. That is something i will have to live with. Just reading all the responses makes me realize we might be miles apart but we are all one in the spirit. Indeed these are the joys of being a catechist. Each challenge should make us stronger and we become better people.

    • Ally, thanks for sharing this moving story…these things DO indeed happen in our ministry. The important thing is that you apologized which is all that you can do at this point…that’s always the first step toward genuine reconciliation. Hang in there and thanks for sharing.

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