Oh, SaintinTraining. Reading your first paragraph reminded me of how I felt pretty much the entire first few years I was a catechist.
Y’know… I was only 25 when I began as a catechist with the prep program for Confirmation. I’ve never felt more fulfilled (while still over-worked, which can definitely be the case, considering how much the Lord asks of us unless we stop and be still and know He’s God) in my life as when I was a catechist. Doing catechism gave me such a deep sense of joy that is purely not able to be described!!
I was a catechist and LOVED it for 13 years… all the way until one day when I was praying the Lord took my call to ministry away.
That was a big surprise to me.
Believe me… you’ll KNOW when the Lord has done so, IF He has. Do not rely on your feelings, especially frustration and/or fear, or even your logic… to make your choice for you for what you’re going to do or not do.
Pray. Pray. Oh, and did I say… pray?
Sit and be quiet, and know that He is God. He’ll let you know what He’d like you to continue or to discontinue your ministry.
(Um… let’s not call it “quit.” Like it’s a job in the secular world. It is not a job in the secular world. It’s a ministry.)
My kids were from grades 9, 10, and 11… which is in my school district “high school.” Junior high was for 7th and 8th graders. The kids were aged from 14 to 17 years old.
I couldn’t even THINK of teaching the 7th and 8th graders! And the 7th/8th grade catechist told me that she couldn’t even THINK of teaching the 9th/10th/11th grade kids! We agreed between us that each of us was where God wanted us to be – because we were (even though it’s SO MUCH work to pull a lesson together with all the background checks and materials in case the class direction doesn’t go as planned) called for doing catechism for those grades that we were doing it for.
I wonder if you have any in-teacher sessions for training as a catechist in your diocese like mine did? Those learning sessions for us catechists were free and voluntary. I went to as many of those as were not held during normal workdays / working hours in my secular job. I was single. No family (children) that required my attention and time.
I suggest that you ask your DRE (boss) for what it is that she or he can do to help you for how to establish and maintain class discipline.
The best advice I ever got wasn’t until I was a catechist for 3 years and I was SO frustrated and even angry that “my” kids wouldn’t settle down and behave as I needed for them to behave (as in — “listen”) for class management that I finally asked one of the sisters at my parish for advice.
Sister said… looking at me solid and direct with her lovely, large blue eyes looking even larger from the thick glass in her glasses…
“Never smile before Christmas! They have to know you’re serious from the very start… that this is not play time… and you expect them to be serious in class, too. After Christmas, that’s when you can be more relaxed with them because by then the classroom discipline will have been going on and they know their limits.”
I was shocked, asked if she really meant it literally to not smile before Christmas. She was serious!
I was thinking that because this was catechism then I “had” to be “nice” to teach in a “Christian way.” Nothing could be further from the truth. These kids are looking to break boundaries… it’s a natural progression of development toward adulthood.
So, the next year I tried it. It worked!
I could’ah kicked myself for not asking for help sooner! :rolleyes:
Hope this helps!
P.S. I spoke with my priest at my next Confession about this removal of my catechical call. I asked him if he even knew what I was trying to say? He assured me that he did. He’s a great priest. Perhaps you might consider asking your priest about this, too?