What’s One Thing You Learned This Year as a Catechist?

For most of us, our catechetical year has come to an end. That means that it’s time to look back and evaluate. Every year of teaching is a learning experience for US as catechists.

What’s one thing that you learned this year as a catechist?

Please answer in the space below where it says “Leave a Reply” and “Submit Comment” – let’s hear from ya!

About Joe Paprocki 2745 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 www.catechistsjourney.com.

18 Comments on What’s One Thing You Learned This Year as a Catechist?

  1. I’ve learned that, after all these years of teaching, I still fall into a bad habit I had as a new teacher and that is, I TALK TOO MUCH! I’m still learning how to step back and make sure that my planning includes more opportunities for participants to talk.

    • I have known for some time now that the young people I teach would rather listen to music on their headphones than listen to what we catechists have to share. But this year, their attachment to their PED’s was more marked than ever! I have therefore decided to invest some money in acquiring a multimedia projector (no more borrowing!)and building up our library of DVD’s so our presentations could be more varied.

      • Bernadette, I made the same investment a few years ago and it’s made a world of difference. That’s a major sacrifice for any catechist to make but if you feel you’re in for the long haul as a catechist, it’s a worthwhile investment.

  2. I’ve also learning more and more ways of implementing something I talk about all the time: making my sessions feel more like going to church than going to school. This has been the most exciting challenge of the past year for me.

  3. I’ve relearened, repeatedly, that God has to come before the work, has to be there in the work and has to be the result of the work. When the work comes first things are too complicated and, often, are empty.

  4. I learned as a parent and main teacher of catechism how we need much more my jewish neighbors know in regards to scripture than my kids approx same age know and they are learning hebrew as well. They have a solid curriculum in place like you would in a school and parent handbooks are handed out so parents and kids know what to expect the children to learn that year.( this is healthy skepticism not criticism in anyway to the wonderful volunteers that make so much happen with very little resources.) WE need more resources put into our faith formation programs. as a teacher in special education we use a curriculum based approach to teach a subject through play to make it fun and exciting for the kids to learn. Some kids are reading out of the book given for instruction with a teacher for an hour and they are bored to tears. This is the year of faith! the basis of our faith is sound catechesis and my prayer as a parent especially is that more resources are poured into our YOUth for they are our now of our church not our future.
    God Bless!

  5. After 26 years I’m learning more and more about being ready to gently teach according to the
    Catechism of the Cathothic Church regardless of how many parents don’t agree with all the
    Catholic Teachings. That’s my role. And to speak with confidence to parents that our job is
    to teach according to the teachings of the Church that are based on God’s Teachings, and we
    cannot change the truths because the parents pick and choose what they want to follow and believe. I hope that you, who have faced this, have a wonderful Priest who will back you up,
    like I do!

  6. I learned to accept each child as an individual with individual learning styles. I had both VERY vocal children and the “silent” type in the same group and I was able to engage both in the lessons. It did not make more work for me but keep me receptive to the leading of the Spirit.

  7. My 4th grade is willing to learn but still want to have fun in doing so. “Educational” games are great. They LOVE hangman. We use vocabulary words from our text. The person who guesses the word must also know the defination. If nobody guesses the word, then the student who thought of the word must supply the defination. PLUS — Always work their school and personal life into the lesson. The students relate better this way. Finally, hands on crafts are a great way to learn.

  8. I have learned that it helps to prepare in advanced. Despite the fact that I do a lot of reading ahead of time, I still have to spread the good news so that children can understand it. Next year, I am going to try my best to do just that, and pray to the Holy Spirit to give me the grace. Also, ask for additional copies of the roster to learn their names.

  9. I’ve learned that the children are more open to what
    we teach them when we let them express themselves and let them role play. I think that I have learned more from them than they have learned from me. I also have learned to be more patient with them when they are not responsive and give them more time for their lessons.

  10. I’ve learnt that it is harder to teach the parents of the child than the child. Parents pick and choose what they want to follow. Before every class I pray for the Holy spirits guidance and He never fails. However I still feel as a cathecist that I have a lot of preparation work to do before I teach. Incorporating school and home life into the churches teachings and our lessons work and the kids understand better.
    God bless you all.

  11. I have learned that the “show stopping” kids are more than just a waste of class time. After spending some one on one time with a boy in my 7th grade class, setting up for a Sunday Social, I saw a different side of him.

    I also learned that sometimes you just have to make that call to the parent, to get that class clowns attention.

    We spend such few hours with our religious ed kids that we need to remember to dig a little deeper to get to know them.

    Peace out.

  12. I tend to approach every topic the way I did the year before, per my lesson plan. This year I learned to shift tactics more quickly if last year’s method isn’t working. E.g., if last year I drew pictures and it’s not grabbing the kids, I might shift to an impromptu skit, use a prop, come up with some analogy from my childhood, or discuss line by line relevant Bible verses.

    I may as well mention I draw a lot, and photograph the board at the end of each class. Then I can see what I did when that lesson rolls around the next year.

  13. When assigning homework, I handout a paper when we begin a Unit specifying what is to be done for each chapter in the unit. The students may have more free time some weeks and they can get ahead with their assignments. In the beginning of the year most of the students turn in homework but in subsequent units there are fewer students doing any homework. I believe I must explain the homework when a new unit is started and perhaps go through a chapter so that they will understand what they are to do.

  14. That one can teach a class of all boys and prepare them for
    Confirmation. We sang together and we prayed together. After 36 years of teaching this is a class that I will always remember.

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