We all have worth
How well we manage our classroom is a good indicator of how well we will do in our ministry as a catechist. Our role has four parts:
1. We educate. As catechists we teach children about our faith.
2. We facilitate. Our careful planning makes learning easier and the lessons go more smoothly.
3. We encourage. We inspire and give approval so children will want to keep learning.
4. We are role models. Those we teach will learn what it means to be a Christian by our actions.
Keeping these four attributes in mind, think about the ways we communicate to our class. We probably spend 80 percent of class time communicating with the children. Studies show that 55 percent of our communication is non-verbal. What does our face say to the children? What are we communicating by our hand gestures, the way we stand, or the way we move around in our teaching space? Try to make your non-verbal communication speak positively.
Enjoy the children that have entered your life. They are gifts that God has sent your way. Let them know that you are happy to be with them and appreciate the time you have together to learn more about our faith.
We know that preventive discipline techniques help keep behavior problems from interrupting your lessons. Here’s a demonstration that helps children understand the value of each person.
Take a $10 bill in play money and show it to the children. Tell them to pretend it is real money. Ask them who would like to have it. They can raise their hands. Take the bill and crumple it, and ask them who would like it now. Next, throw the bill on the floor and stomp on it. Again, ask who would like it. Finally, take the bill and place a small tear in it. (Remind the children that we would never do this with real money because that would be damaging federal property.) Ask who still wants to have the $10. Why do they want it? The answer is because the bill still has value. It is still worth $10.
God created all of us in his own image and likeness. We all have value and deserve to be treated well. Present this challenge to your class: “The next three times we meet, our job is to act Christ-like to everyone. During our time together, think about what you can do to make a fellow classmate have a better day.” After the closing prayer each week, have each child tell you or have them write down what they did to help someone have a better day.
After three classes, have a celebration with your class, not as a reward for good behavior, but because they treated others with respect and remembered that everyone has worth.
We know it’s not easy for children to come to religion class all the time, and we may not always feel upbeat and energetic. But to appreciate their efforts to treat each other well is powerful and provides an atmosphere for real learning to take place.