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Teaching Skills

When a Child Tries to Get the Class Off-Track

I know it might be hard to believe, but occasionally a catechist will encounter a young person who intentionally tries to get the class—and the catechist—off-track. I was recently at a reunion for the high school where I taught back in the 1980s, and the topic of conversation turned to a former teacher who was a favorite of many students back in the day. One of the alums gleefully remarked, “We used to get him […]

red-haired boy - image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay
Understanding Kids

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 […]

The Seven Ds of Discipleship - illustration of people talking

The Seven Ds of Discipleship: #4 Discipline

This is part four of a seven-part series on discipleship. In my last article, we discussed the importance of making decisions to say “no” to the things of the world so that we could say “yes” to Jesus Christ. Closely related to the key of decision-making for Christ is the key of discipline, which reminds me of a story about when I first immigrated to the United States. A couple of months after my arrival […]

Beatitudes and the Catechist
High School/Youth Ministry

Beatitudes and the Catechist: Blessed Are the Meek

This is the third article in a series exploring the Beatitudes as they relate to being a catechist. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) Happy are the catechists who meet kids where they are, for they will win over the classroom. I had quickly lost control of a recent class. One of the boys kept laying his head down on the table. Another boy was more interested in having […]

10 tips for maintaining discipline
Teaching Skills

10 Tips for Maintaining Discipline—Free Downloads

Volunteer catechists come to a new year of faith formation with enthusiasm, excitement, and a love for God, the Catholic faith, and children. But often they also come with apprehension because they have had little to no training in classroom management—things like what to do when the children won’t stop talking or when they interrupt the flow of the lesson in other ways. No catechist should panic, because this month we’re offering 10 Tips for […]

word respect around a handshake
Teaching Skills

Setting the Tone for Classroom Management with Respect

When I began teaching religious education classes, I decided that I would institute only one rule consisting of a single word: respect. This simple word sets the tone for the class. First, I make sure that all the students know the meaning of the word. It would not make any difference if no one knew what the word respect means. I explain to the class that when we respect someone or something, we treat that […]

9 Advent Attitudes

9 Advent Attitudes – #8: Remaining Even-Keeled

Advent is, above all else, a season of hope—a virtue that is all too rare in our world. To live as a person of hope is to behave in such a manner as to draw suspicion that we are behaving somewhat erratically as far as worldly norms go. This new type of behavior—what some may even call erratic behavior (the behavior that led people to conclude that the Apostles were “under the influence” on Pentecost)—is […]

reader question

Another Plea for Help

OK, friends, another colleague of ours has sent out a plea for help! This one comes from a catechetical leader named Steve. Please offer your advice, thoughts, comments, and questions in the box below under Leave a Reply and thanks in advance for so generously sharing your wisdom. Joe, Last year I had several problems with some middle school kids who were unable to change behavior on their own.  In several instances I had a parent […]

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Getting Started as a Catechist

Webinar Part Two Tomorrow!

I’m gearing up for Part Two of my Getting Started as a Catechist Webinar – tomorrow evening, Thursday, September 2, 2010, at 7 pm (CDT). There’s still time to register! Facilitator: Joe Paprocki, DMin Brought to you by Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry Thursday, September 2, 2010: Part Two 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. (CST) [Find out what time this is for you.] Becoming a catechist is exciting and, let’s face it, somewhat intimidating! New catechists […]

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Catechist Training

Now Available: Recording of Part Two of Catechist Training Webinar

As promised, the recordings for Part Two of the Catechist Training Webinars are now available! I provided free Catechist Training Webinars on August 19 & 20 (Part One) and August 26 & 27 (Part Two). I’m providing the recordings for those who were unable to participate or would like to share it with others. The Webinar is broken into chapters by theme for easy viewing. The link below will lead you to another site called You Tube […]