What I’ve learned from teaching confirmation class this year

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 9.58.41 PMWe are down to just a few more weeks of confirmation instruction. One more lesson to go on the third article or the creed (resurrection and everlasting life), and then a review week for three students to be confirmed in April.

This will be the thirty-first time I’ve taught the catechism to seventh- and eighth- graders (with a few high schoolers tossed in from time to time). In some ways it gets easier the more you do it. In other ways it gets harder. But after all those years, I am still learning myself, and I thought I’d share some of those lessons.

  • With ten students all together, all of whom are busy with lots of other activities, I broadcast my classes on Facebook live. I learned how to use this convenient platform that saves the feed to watch later. Plus, I usually had about 75 assorted people tune in to watch a few minutes of the class, from all around the world.
  • I learned a lot, again, about how much young people grow and develop from the beginning of seventh grade and the end of eighth grade. This is the time when they discover who they are. They learn new skills, work together with new teams, ride waves of failure and success, and make me laugh in endless ways.
  • I learned that there are some I just cannot teach. I had to cry, “Uncle” when confronted by some of the behavioral challenges dumped into my class. I felt completely helpless when teaching students who were completely uncooperative and disruptive yet were intriguing in their comments. There are no seminary classes in special ed.
  • Kids have an appetite that just does not end. I brought pizza, Girl Scout cookies, fried chicken, and chips and salsa. I never brought enough. They will consume everything in their path. Like locusts.
  • I am getting old. The gap is widening. These kids are programming robots, living in virtual reality worlds, and communicating in so many different ways. I’m not. I’m just barely treading water in their world. RPGs? I’m not there. I don’t follow any You-tubers. I’m a dinosaur.

Teaching young people keeps me young – as young as I can be for now. I’m thankful for that little bit of eternal life!

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