Over at the Conspiracy, I tell the story of my most spectacular teaching failure ever.
I would like to be able to say that this was something that happened long, long ago when I was just starting out.
It happened two weeks ago.
I made plans for a class, and those plans turned out to be not what my students needed:
About half the children were enthusiastic about games and eager to do interesting activities oriented towards developing an awareness of rhythm, tempo, and communication skills (like paying attention to what your singing partners are doing). The other half of the children were clearly hard-wired to receive the sensory input of “there is a foam ball in my hand” and immediately activate the DODGE BALL IS ON centers of the brain.
No one got hurt, and that’s about the only positive to report on the post-incident review.
It was so bad I had to immediately apologize to the other volunteers and assure them I knew full well we had just witnessed an absolute disaster.
It was truly horrible.
But here is the good news, if you, too, have ever been nominated for Worst Teacher Ever: It doesn’t have to be that way.
Teaching is a skill. Classroom management is a skill. Some people master these skills intuitively and “just know” what to do. The rest of us can learn. If you volunteered to teach religious ed this year and things are not going well, you can turn your class around.
I’ve done it before. I did it just this week. You can too.
Ordering notes if you are so inclined:
- ISBN-10: 0764822349
- ISBN-13: 978-0764822346
The book is Classroom Management for Catechists by Jennifer Fitz, published by Liguori Publications. For bulk orders, phone or e-mail Liguori and find out what the best deal is. It may be worth while to combine orders with a neighboring parish in order to get a volume discount. There’s also a Spanish edition, Manual del manejo de clase para catequistas. The book is useful for anyone who has to manage groups of children. You can read my summary of what it’s about over at my books page.