The Little Red-Haired Boy

I was sitting at my desk after checking in on each of the faith formation classes. An aide from the first grade came into the office with a young boy. He had bright red hair, freckles, and a scowl that said he knew he was in trouble. The aide told me that she and the catechist had tried everything to get this boy to behave in class—time out, sitting with the aide, making sure they […]

Engaging Our Little Ones in Service: It Is the Way

One of the first lessons we teach our children when they begin interacting with other children is to share. Even if something belongs to them, we encourage them to share with others. To borrow a phrase from The Mandalorian: “This is the way.” Indeed, sharing with others is integral to “the way” of Christian life. We call this way of living stewardship—the sharing of our time, talent, and treasure with others. I would contend that, […]

Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach: High School

Today we continue our series, Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach, in which we look at the developmental stages of our learners. St. Ignatius of Loyola said that, when teaching or speaking to a group, it is always best to “enter through their door, but be sure to leave through your door.” His advice is that we need to take learners where they are and move them to the next step in […]

Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach: Junior High

Welcome to another installment of Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach, a series in which we look at the developmental stages of our learners. St. Ignatius of Loyola said that, when teaching or speaking to a group, it is always best to “enter through their door, but be sure to leave through your door.” His advice means that we need to take learners where they are and move them to the […]

Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach: Intermediate Grades

Welcome to this installment of Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach, a series in which we look at the developmental stages of our learners. St. Ignatius of Loyola said that, when teaching or speaking to a group, it is always best to “enter through their door, but be sure to leave through your door.” His advice is that we need to meet learners where they are and move them to […]

Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach: Primary Grades

Welcome to this installment of Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach, a series in which we look at developmental stages of our learners. St. Ignatius of Loyola said that, when teaching or speaking to a group, it is always best to “enter through their door, but be sure to leave through your door.” His advice is that we need to take learners where they are and move them to the next […]

Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach: Early Childhood

Welcome to the first installment in our series, Entering Through Their Door & Knowing the Age Group You Teach, in which we will look at developmental stages of our learners. St. Ignatius of Loyola said that, when teaching or speaking to a group, it is always best to “enter through their door, but be sure to leave through your door.” His advice is that we need to take learners where they are and move them to the […]

Teaching Early Childhood Is Not Just Fun and Games

Whenever I would tell folks that my inclination is to teach older children—eighth grade or high school—some would remark, “Oh, I admire you for teaching the older kids. I could never do that. I teach the little ones.” In response, I would always say, “Oh, I admire you! I could never teach that age group!” And that’s the truth! I don’t have the gift of connecting with the “wee ones” of early childhood (pre-school, K, […]

Engaging in Dialogue with Your Students

“I know why many religious education programs at parishes are struggling and yet why youth ministry is growing in some of those same parishes,” my friend Sarah said to me one day at a coffee shop. “I’m sure that some of these parishes have various factors involved,” she continued, “but I have found a common issue in my 12 years of being a youth minister. It’s pretty simple too.” I urged her to tell me […]

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