You did it! Despite the variety of challenges to your energy, your creativity, and your patience throughout the year, you successfully answered the call to teach children the faith with dedication and Christian love. Why not cap off that adventure by making your last class your best? Prepare to let your true passion for teaching the faith shine through channels that are familiar and fun for you.
First, clarify the message. You know that each lesson you teach, even the last, is made up of message and management. So begin your planning by reviewing the lesson scheduled for the final class. Summarize that lesson, on paper or in your mind, to one or two meaningful phrases that aptly express the teaching method you plan to share.
Next, select a management method. Make an honest list of your own personal interests listing activities that brighten your life and give you pleasure. Your list will be uniquely yours, but might include activities like:
- Board games
Consider to what degree each of the activities on your list might serve as a management tool to help you share the lesson’s message. Select the activity that will best empower you to teach the message with spirit and joy.
Visualizing the lesson
A simple way to envision how this technique might play out in your classroom is to assume that the scheduled final lesson is a year-end review. The condensed message for that lesson might be something like: “summarize and connect the major teaching points of the year.”
Return to your activities list and imagine ways in which you might utilize the activities you like best to accomplish what your message requires: “summarize and connect the major teaching points of the year.”
You may also come up with approaches like these:
- You love art or crafting: organize a small group activity that directs students to gather or create images of key instructional points shared during the year and present them to the class in a large-scale collage.
- You are a story person; ask the children to work in pairs or threes to prepare a short story that effectively outlines the year’s content year for younger children. Share the stories with those children now, or at the beginning of the next teaching year.
- Movies are your specialty: select short clips from a variety of films that relate directly to the central theme of your teaching year. Share them, and discuss with students how the clips illustrate the work done in the year gone by.
Using a teaching tool that brings a smile to your face will raise the interest level of your learners and likely enrich your message as well.
So go ahead, frame that final lesson by tapping into your deepest energy sources, then step back and watch your own enjoyment become contagious.
Lee Danesco is a former DRE and pastoral associate in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Her latest book is The Confident Catechist: Strategies for the New and Not-So-New Volunteer (St. Mary’s Press).
This article was originally published in RTJ’s creative catechist April/May, 2013.
Image: FatCamera, istock