There is light on the horizon. There may be some hope for my CCD class after all.
In an earlier post, I mentioned that this has been a difficult class to get under control. They have been extremely antsy, unfocused and talkative.
I had joked that it was like they were all on ritalin that wore off at 4 pm, and they spent the rest of the afternoon sipping espresso.
Last week, I was out of town and they had a substitute who is one of the parish’s music leaders. I suggested that rather than trying to teach a regular lesson, that she take them over to the church on a “field trip” and introduce them to some music. I figured that would be enough to keep them interested and at least tolerably well behaved. Wrong! Apparently, they were so bad that they left the substitute in tears, and even one of my class mothers came in and yelled at the class.
This week, I had my work cut out for me. I had a plan. I knew I had to start off in control and not let up. I had a helper who roamed the class, putting out any little brush fires that spring up. Freed of having to stop the flow to quiet students having their own side conversations, I I could keep my momentum. It worked.
After an opening prayer, I started the class with a discussion of proper behavior with an emphasis on the third of our three class rules, “Don’t be a jerk.” (The other two are “Show up” and “Participate.”) One of the students actually volunteered that “talking while someone else is talking” constitutes being a jerk. Once we got things rolling, we kept it moving and really didn’t give the kids any opportunity to wander off track. I was able to teach the class and lead some interesting discussions without constantly having to compete for the class’s attention.
My helper was the bomb!
We did have one real eye-opening exchange.
We were discussing the various ways we show reverence and respect in church — actions like genuflecting, blessing ourselves with Holy Water, and so on.
One student told me:
“I’m not sure what to do. My family doesn’t go to church very often, so I really don’t know what kinds of things you are supposed to do there.”
Weekly Mass attendance is the goal in the Catholic Church. Actually, it’s the law. But not taking your ten-year-old to Mass enough that he or she knows the common customs is pretty lame. The sad thing is that it’s not the child’s fault.