Thanks to everyone for sharing such great advice for catechists of intermediate age children. Now, we move on to the next group which is catechists of junior high and high school youth (grades 7 through12). Let’s hear from the army of intrepid catechists out there who labor in the vineyard with these unique creatures we call pre-adolescents and adolescents! What advice, wisdom, and strategies do you have to offer? Just type in your comments below…I’ll be sharing the best wisdom in my Getting Started as a Catechist (for Catechists of Jr. High/High School Youth) Webinar on Tuesday, August 30, 2011.
Since I have many years of experience teaching 8th grade and high school, permit me to toss out the first pitch: working with this age group is both very challenging and very rewarding. It’s important to give these kids space to be kids which means being tolerant to a degree with various less-than-ideal behaviors. Yes, you can and should call them on it but don’t make a big deal out of it…in many cases, they literally cannot help themselves. Their brains just haven’t developed yet to the point of being fully mature. At the same time, their brains need to be challenged to grow into that next step, so it is crucial to have high expectations and to treat them like young adults…avoid babying this age group. Be authentic…they can spot a phony a mile a way. Don’t try to be their friend. Be a mentor and a coach. You don’t need to become like them…they need to become like you!