I didn’t want to teach my 9th grade CCD class last night. It had been a long, busy weekend and I had the beginnings of a headache. It was cold outside and I was tired. Besides, the adolescent boys in that class usually make the teaching experience.well, let’s say less than rewarding.
But playing hooky is not an option for the teacher, and so I went to class. With my students, I try to walk the fine line between being “cool” and being an authority figure. I let them play video games on the office computer before class time and we usually chat a bit about sports or school activities before opening our books. I do not allow disrespectful behavior or foul language, though, and it is a constant struggle to keep them on topic during class.
Last night was no different. As I tried to lead them through a chapter outlining the teachings of the Church about the Trinity and the Virgin Mary, our reading was continually interrupted with off-topic comments and questions like “Are we gonna have class on Halloween?” and “Does anyone know the score to the Patriots game?”
We were also interrupted, however, by off-topic questions like “How do we know we can believe anything in the Bible?” and “Why did Jesus have to suffer so much before he died?” I answered these off-topic questions and some of them led to off-topic discussions about heaven and hell, the gift of faith, and the terrible power of sin. These were important questions that kids this age should be asking and that they might not have an opportunity to ask elsewhere. I was grateful to be there to hear them and to help answer them– in order to do that I had to show up in the first place. That’s something I should remind myself of the next time I am dreading CCD class.