Whatever grade you teach, you may have a student that you feel you never quite reach. You notice the child’s constant distracted look or inattentiveness as you present a concept. You get frustrated by the child’s failure to ever follow directions.
You have tried and are trying to unlock the mind and touch the heart of such a student, of course. What sparks this child? Is there a sport they love, or a particular interest in current events? How might you engage that “igniter” creatively-using sports statistics in math, for example, or news stories in language arts? How about applying gospel lessons to playground games or using video games to design a religion game?
Maybe the “untouchable” students are particular gifts to you. Is the gift they bring a call to the virtue of patience? Is the gift a reminder that nothing worthwhile comes easily?
When you face the challenge of a student you don’t seem to be able to reach, remember it may be your role in this student’s life to prepare the soil. Someone else may reach the student because you were there first. Perhaps you reached the student by your understanding. Never forget that seeming not to touch them doesn’t mean you didn’t touch them in some way. God alone knows the successes, and God loves you because you try to reach each of his children.
TO DO» Reflect on the “untouchables” in your class. Think about who they may become. Thank God for the role you are playing in their lives.
TO PRAY» Dear Lord, when I get discouraged, strengthen me and remind me that I play an important role in every student’s life.
DR. CAROLE EIPERS’ teaching career has spanned many years and includes serving as Director of the Office for Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Chicago and President of the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership. She is the author of Catechist 101: Wade, Don’t Dive, from Twenty-Third Publications.