Every so often, a catechist will tell me about the challenges and difficulties he or she is having with the class one is teaching for faith formation. One of the first questions I ask is, “What’s your class size?” Too often, the reply is 20 or more participants! That may not sound like a lot; however, it is important to remember that most catechists are not professionally trained teachers, and handling a group of that size can be challenging even for a professional. The ideal maximum is 15 and, in general, the smaller the class size, the better.
With that in mind, please take a moment to participate in this poll question about class size in parish religious education.
Although I only have five students, I have three grades to teach (but four grades of kids, the Kinder and first grade use the same book). I have 1st, 3rd, and 4th grades. And I’m losing my teenage helper! Please pray for me – and send along any hints. I’ve been doing this 20+ years but not like this.
Thanks, Bobbi…prayers are on their way! This points out that class size is not the only issue…the makeup of the class is also very critical!
Agreeing wholeheartedly with your estimation, Joe, I add that sometimes the larger group size becomes inevitable due to the lack of catechists. If we have to go to a group larger than 15, we always ensure that that group is led by an experienced teacher, and/or provide an aide with the catechist. We try our best and trust that God sees and God provides.
Thanks, Christina. Indeed, finding good catechists is always a challenge and often the group size is too large due to the lack of catechists. This reinforces just how crucial a responsibility catechist recruitment and formation are for catechetical leaders! We need all the help we can get!