Countless thoughts race through my head as I enter the room to teach fourth and fifth grade CCD. First and foremost, I recognize that in most places catechesis can and needs to be greatly improved. For many children, the whole Catholic thing is often a mere obligation on Sunday mornings before their sports tournament in the afternoon.
On the one hand, I have only an hour each week — hardly enough time to teach the faith. On the other hand, I have an entire hour with fourth and fifth graders, most of whom are rambunctious boys with absolutely no desire to sit still for five minutes. So, I have to adapt the lesson to my audience, particularly the mode of delivery. An hour lecture, even with accurate content, would likely be wasted on these children. Instead I try a different approach – I take advantage of their restless and competitive spirits, turning as much of the lesson as I can into a competition. The more they are engaged, the more they discuss. The more they learn, the more points they get. The fewer answers they get right, the more points I get. Telling a fifth grade boy he has a chance to beat his teacher is one way to ensure his participation.