Blog/CYM Blog

Edge in the Classroom

“You want me to do what? Teach the eighth graders in our parish school religion three times a week? Heck yes!” I’m a youth minister – how can I say no to more time hanging out with youth and sharing my faith with them? Sure, this might be a bit more complicated, since this course would be graded and included in their overall GPA. Yes, that proved to be a bit more difficult of a mindset to change than I originally thought. Religion, in the eyes of many of my students, was a subject to be learned for tests, not a faith to be lived. Utilizing Edge resources in the classroom setting has helped me work to change that mindset in a big way!

I wanted to be thorough and cover all my bases, so I started my prep work with the Diocesan Curriculum, and then I began to dig through Edge nights… Some fit perfectly, such as “To Pentecost and Beyond” as a starting point for the History of the Early Church, the Creed semester to break open, well, the Creeds, or the Morality semester to teach not just what the 10 Commandments are but what they mean in the life of my students.

The class is 40 minutes long and meets three times per week – so obviously, I’m not just doing an entire Edge night each class. I try to fit an Edge meeting plan each week of class – with Monday generally incorporating the Gather and Proclaim. I’ll use the questions provided in the Break as homework, which brings everyone prepared for discussion on the topic for Tuesday’s class. It’s definitely a large group discussion (25 students in the class), but we have fun with it and get through it pretty well. Then we’ll do whatever activity is a part of the Break in the Edge meeting plan. Having that plan brings a great deal of life and energy, and allows it to be more than just another class for the students to sit in.

The Send is probably what needs the most adaptation for our classroom – it’s not always possible to do adoration or leave the classroom, but we take time to connect the topic to their personal lives, to pray for the special intentions of the class and those in need, to associate the topic with a song or a challenge to live it out, etc. Just like any other teaching (or ministry!) situation it involves preparation and creativity.

Sometimes I give outlines to recap the topics discussed for the week, or I use Thursday (the third time each week I’m with them) for a time of “lecture and notes” as well as small classroom projects. This is definitely more of a “traditional classroom” study of the subject matter – but with the set-up of the topic done with the Edge plan, the connection to their life is already in place, which makes the topic easier to cover.

I love to teach the faith because I love to see how the youth are able to connect with it and (more importantly) live it out.

When I started this adventure back in September, students would often ask me about their grades. It was clearly their focus in the class. Halfway through the year, there’s been a shift, with students now wanting to talk about the topic we’re discussing, service opportunities (stemming from the Corporal Works of Mercy semester) and the struggles they are facing with their faith, in their homes, with their friends, and in their lives.

I love having the ability to use Edge in the classroom and see the faith of the students come alive as more than a grade to earn, but a life to live!

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