January is a time for making New Year’s resolutions and trying to improve ourselves. For catechists, that means looking at how we can improve our teaching of the faith.

1) Evaluate your environment. Take a look around your classroom. Is it too busy and distracting? Is it boring? Noisy? Do you have all your materials available when you need them?

2) Make a list of the things in your classroom environment you want to change and get to it! Last year I had to teach my high school students in a nursery class because we ran out of room! Talk about distractions. I had teenage boys throwing balls around my room. Things needed to change, but I was slow to do it. So I suffered instead of making my environment a more productive space. I wondered why I was so tired after class and yet, I didn’t put the energy that was needed into changing an environment that was making me stressed. Sometimes the most obvious changes are the hardest ones to make.

3) Evaluate your teaching style and your students’ learning style. Most people learn by one of three methods: visual (seeing), auditory (hearing), or tactile (feeling). Are you covering all three areas in some respect in order to reach all your students?

4) Do you have enough help in class? Do you need to recruit an aid, or ask a teenager to help out in class?

5) Have you identified any students who have special needs in your class? If so, do you have the tools you need to educate those students. Remember, out in the world, regular teachers go to school for years to learn to work effectively with all types of students. Catechists get an in-service or two. Perhaps we take a few classes ourselves. Is that enough? If we need more help, we should ask for it. Perhaps our FF Director can have regular education teachers share some of their tips with us. We can read information about teaching in books and on the Internet. Teaching the faith is not jus something we do for an hour a week, it is a secondary vocation! God has entrusted us with this job and we try to give it our best.

And, in case no one has said it to you lately, thank you for taking on this monumental task of teaching the faith! May God continue to bless you in your mission.