I taught CCE for too many years to count. I ran out of fingers but found a glass of wine and stopped. I taught kids between 4th and 7th grades. I mainly taught 5th grade, because there is nothing more fun than the mind of a 10 year old child. At least to me. I love the way they see things. I love the way they put information together. Most of all I love their discovery of the world outside their front door.
Every year I would get the "spill-over" class. The kids no one else wanted. The "hard to place" kids. The Trouble Makers. As a result, I always had the largest classes and with the exception of one year, no assistants. I didn't pull my hair out, run out screaming or being quietly screaming inside my own head. I loved it! I loved the kids. I loved the lessons and I loved the challenge of teaching them things that were boring to me.
Every year, on opening night, I would have parents dropping off their precious little snowflakes and apologize to me that their Ritalin had already run it's daily course and to please inform them if I had any problems. They never left their names or phone numbers and I would not see them again until the Christmas pageant.
Every year I never really spoke to them again until the final day when the Knights of Columbus would have a little fair and hot dog cook out for the kids.
Every year they would ask me if I had any trouble with their precious snowflakes.
Every year I told them no.
Every year they asked me how I did it.
I would ask my class to then recite the Nicean Creed. And once they were done with that, they would recite the Prayer of St. Francis. None of them mumbled over any bits or passages. They didn't forget or look confused. They knew these two very long passages by heart and they could even tell you what they meant.
Every year I knew that the parents never read the note I sent home on the first night telling them about discipline in my class room.
When kids act out in class they do one of two things. They start to fidget and move about or they begin talking off topic. It shows they are bored and their minds are not engaged. If my kids did either I stopped the class and made them recite either the Nicean Creed or the Prayer of St. Francis. If they continued to act out, I made the entire class recite them. Peer pressure can be a wonderful corrective device in the right child, especially at that age.
Yes, I had nights where I had to ashcan the entire lesson and they did nothing but recite prayers all evening. I would explain that they were in my class for a specific purpose, to learn religion and about the Catholic Church, so, if they were going to talk in class, it had to be about religion or the Catholic Church. No gossip, no chit chat.
I also could go for entire months without stopping class once to get them back on track. It really was my way and no highway option in my class room.
I don't think I was a horrible teacher. I always had past student coming back to my class room to visit. Some would even tell me they missed me teaching them. I've seen them all confirmed now. One of the children, from the very first class I taught, is going on to seminary and plans on becoming a priest. I'd like to think I put the idea in his head. Every year I would pick one boy, the one who usually gave me the most grief the first class and told him that I could see him becoming a priest. Most kids were horrified at the thought. This one boy was no different. When I saw the announcement in our Diocese newspaper I nearly cried I was so proud of this young man, no longer a boy.
I never needed the parents of my students to medicate them into Zombies to capture and hold their attention. It wasn't that I was such a great educator, trust me on this. I know kids, I know the games they play, and a few minutes of time, taken out of lesson time, was not going to kill any of us because my kids had no tests to pass to make me look like I was doing my job correctly. No, that came on the shoulders of the Confirmation instructors! I just made sure my kids knew what they were supposed to know by the time they got there so the instructors were not doing tons of remedial work.
Kids on Ritalin are let down three times. First by their teachers who don't care to try to keep them engaged. Then by their parent who agree with the teachers and just want a quiet, compliant child who won't interrupt Dancing With The Stars or X-Factor. Then, and this is perhaps the worst, the doctors who write the prescriptions knowing there is nothing wrong with the kid at all.
I have four children. Statistically I should have had one ADHD kid. ADHD doesn't exist, it's made up. Doubt me? Look up what the creator of the condition came out with a year ago. It's a complete fraud. Your son is not hyper, he's just a normal boy who needs more physical or mental stimulation, try paying some attention to him. I dunno, toss a ball to him out in the yard instead of sitting in your recliner with a beer and scratching your belly while you watch Wheel of Fortune. Try sitting at the table and having a meal and talking to your kids instead of tossing bags at them from the drive through.
Try being a parent.