For catechists, this is a great time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to next year. I did a little reflecting and came up with some observations about the year and goals for next year.
This was my first year teaching 8th grade CCD at our current parish. It was an adjustment coming from the Catholic school religion classroom to a role as a catechist. First, it took me some time to adjust to the different role of parish catechesis compared to religious instruction. It was certainly a challenge to teach kids at 5pm, just hours after they got out of school. A number of kids suggested that we do more fun activities next year. This is why I plan to use the resources at The Catholic Toolbox much more in 2010-2011.
I created a slide show to share with parents at the end of the year open house (see below). It was a great review of the year and it helped me to make a few observations:
- Don’t try to cover too much. Focus on the most essential lessons for each lesson plan. With only 75 minutes per week, you can only expect some core pieces of knowledge to stick and only then with some effective teaching methods and repetition.
- Plan ahead with UNIT PLANS. Like normal, I created unit plans to give my lesson plans a context. However, I should have spent more time planning each lesson weeks ahead of time and then filling in the details in preparation for the week.
- Take pictures of the kids! With digital cameras and Flip video cameras, it is easy to take pictures and videos of the kids doing fun activities to help remind them of the things we did at the end of the year.
Although I have helped with Confirmation preparation my previous diocese, each parish and diocese has a different way of preparing and carrying out the sacrament. The Confirmation Retreat went well, but the kids still wanted something they could relate to more closely. I also have a better idea of the timeline that we will follow next year. I hope to connect with parents and sponsors to a greater extent next year to prepare the kids for the sacrament. I also know now that Bishop Rhoades, our new bishop, will be grilling the kids with questions. This means make sure they know the Scripture story of Pentecost, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and other general knowledge by heart.
What about you? What goals are you starting to form for next year? What lessons did you learn this year?