Teacher Guidelines

The guidelines document includes important information involving building locations, arrival, dismissal, attendance, service hours, homework, snack, discipline, and emails.

2018-2019

  • PARKING:  Catechists should park in the large parking lot, do not park in the Insurance parking lot across Washington on Tuesdays or Thursdays. It is only available on Sundays.
  • CLASSROOM LOCATIONS:

Sunday Classes:                   Grades P – 4                         in the Elementary Grade Building

Sunday Classes:                   Grades 5 – 8, All Abilities   in the Upper Grade Building

Tuesday:                                Grades 1, 2, 3                       in the Elementary Building

Tuesday Classes:                  Grades 4 – 8                          in the Upper Grade Building

Thursday Classes:                Grades 1 – 5                         in the Upper Grade Building

Good Shepherd Classes                                                     in the Kinane Center basement

To get to the ELEMENTARY GRADE BUILDING walk thru the breezeway (on the side of the Rectory) and then turn right and walk down to the large, long building parallel to the church.  Use the back door where the ramp is to enter.

FYI – ON SUNDAYS parents will be able to enter on both sides of the Elementary building  but the Ridge Terrace side will open only directly before Catechesis starts.

The UPPER GRADE BUILDING is directly next to the Rectory and has the gym off of it.  Please use the doors beyond the Morello Parish Life Center {MPLC} (gym doors).

  • ARRIVAL TIME:  it can’t be stressed enough how important it is for you to arrive ten (10) minutes early.  Late arrival causes stress on all those that are waiting and covering for you and makes for a difficult start to your class.  YOU ARE BEING DEPENDED UPON!  This is very important.  Make it a priority.
  • DISMISSAL: It is essential that we supervise the children at dismissal.  The safety of the children is our first goal.

Tuesday and Thursday Catechesis dismisses the children promptly at 5:30 or 8:30.  In the Elementary Grade Center & Kinane Center, the children should be brought outside to the back door by the catechist.  Any children left without a parent can be brought to where I am standing which is usually in front of the Parish Life Center doors.

On Sunday the parents are to come INTO the classroom to get the child because the parking lot between the church and school is very busy.  On Sunday, no child is to leave the classroom without a parent.

  • SUBSTITUTES:  Call BOTH the Office for Catechesis and your coordinator for all absences.  Give as much notice of planned absences as possible.  Illness of course is not planned but let us know as early in the day as possible.

 It would be most helpful if you find a substitute, as it is extremely difficult for us to find one.  Ask people you know and trust.  If we do not have a sub then we need to split classes up into other classes.  PLEASE KNOW if you did NOT find a sub, we need you to bring your lesson plans and handouts  to the office so that we can have them available for someone to take over the class.

  • FIRE DRILLS, TORNADO ALERTS AND EMERGENCY EVACUATIONS:  If you hear the fire alarm, stop everything and evacuate.  There are evacuation signs posted in the school and you will also receive a map of the building.

 In case of a tornado, students go into the first floor halls in the Elementary Building & basement in the Upper Grade Building, sit cross-legged with head down and arms protecting head.  In any emergency catechists MUST take a copy of your class lists so that you can do roll call once you have reached a safe destination.  The class is to remain silent.  The coordinators will be scheduling a practice run for each grade level so that you know which doors and what location to use.

In case of fire, exit the building. You will practice a fire drill.

In case of any other emergency you will get instructions.

  • RESTROOM/BATHROOM BREAKS:  Children are allowed to use the washroom if they have the need.  Coordinators will be in the hall monitoring the children.  This helps provide safety and discourages inappropriate behavior.  Since drinks are not allowed, use your judgment on letting children leave the room for a drink of water.  Although younger students can go to the bathroom as a group, older students should not go as a group – allow only one girl and one boy at a time as it works much better.
  • EARLY DISMISSAL:  Students requesting early dismissal MUST bring a note to the catechist.  The catechist MUST hand the note to the Coordinator so she/he knows and will then be watching for the parent.

The Coordinator will come to get the child, do not send the child out as often the parent is late and then the child is missing your lesson. Parents must come into the school and the coordinator will go to get the child from class.  No children may leave the building to wait outside for their parents.

  • LESSON PLANS:  Although there can be some diversity in how a particular lesson is presented, all catechists MUST adhere to the subject being assigned for a given week.  Any major changes should be reported to the coordinator who will then communicate the change to the DRE.  If you have ideas you would like to share for lessons always feel free to bring them up at lesson planning meetings!  More heads are better than one in trying to create interesting lessons for our children.  However, you may not hand out any additional paperwork without your coordinator’s consent.

 

  • CANCELLATION OF CLASS:  If classes need to cancelled, the DRE will call the coordinators, the coordinators will call the catechists.  Please make sure to keep your class list handy so that, if necessary you can call your students.

If closing is due to weather we put it on the Emergency Closing Center website, so it appears there and on WGN & ABC.  And we will send an email blast to all the parents.

  • CLASSROOM MAINTENANCE:  We must be good stewards of the rooms we are in!  Let the children know you expect them to keep the rooms clean and help put the desks back in order if they were moved and do not leave food crumbs or wrappers out. And do NOT touch the property inside the desks.

Take a few minutes at the end of each class to have the children help you check desks inside and out and to pick up paper off the floor.  We rely on you to make certain that desks are back in order that nothing has been taken or placed in desks, food has been properly disposed of and desks have not been written on.  We have been working very hard on showing respect for school property.

If you need to communicate something to a teacher, putting it down on paper and leaving it on their desk is a great thing, but I also should be notified.  If anything in the room has been broken/damaged, please tell the DRE so I can make an apology and make arrangements to pay the school for the damages.

It is our protocol, as the year progresses, if I receive any emails from the school teachers that I pass along the information to all the rooms that use that particular classroom and I include the grade level coordinators. Everyone that receives these emails may send a response back to me and I will respond to the school.

Windows and blinds should be left the way you found them.

Chairs should be placed on desks (or stacked – if that is how that classroom puts their chairs) unless the room is used for an evening Catechesis class.  In the evening, all chairs must be put on desks or stacked.

If you don’t plan on returning to the classroom please make sure that your classroom is left orderly.

  • CLASSROOM EXPECTATIONS: On the first day of Catechesis, discuss classroom rules with the children, such as respecting other people’s property, raising their hands before they speak, etc.

It helps if you have the children tell you rules they can think of instead of you lecturing them. You can write them down the first day as you talk about them and have it in class each time you meet.

  • DISCIPLINE:  The most effective form of discipline is to clearly communicate your expectations of the children to them, up front, and then really believe they will follow your directives.

Discipline comes from the word disciple.  We are trying to help the children be disciples of the Lord.  Discipline comes from the respect that children have for themselves and others.

Discipline should be appropriate, constructive, proportionate, immediate and clear.

If a student is consistently disturbing your class it is not fair to the rest of the class to allow them to continue. And please know that you are not failing! They should be sent into the hall to speak with the Coordinator.  Do not sacrifice the class by keeping an unruly student in your class! Your Coordinator is there to constructively deal with that student!

  • COMMUNICATION WITH PARENTS:  Copy the Office on any notes you send home.  In the case of a problem student, first try talking with the student.  If no change in behavior is observed, have the child speak with the coordinator out in the hall.  If there is still no change, then the coordinator will tell the DRE and the DRE will call the parents so that we can plan what would be most beneficial to the child.

Please do not hesitate to tell us of a child you may be having trouble with, we are here to help them.  For some children, the regular classroom option is not the best choice.  We then work with the parents to find what is best of our many options.  Our goal is for the child to feel successful in catechesis.

  • PENCILS & MARKERS, ETC:  Pencils will be in a box in the closet, you may use them and then put them back after each class. Markers, glue sticks and scissors are in the closets.  Please return all to the closet, neatly (and capped!) so we have them for the entire year. For Good Shepherd these are all provided in the individual rooms.
  • ATTENDANCE SLIPS:  Attendance should not be taken until fifteen (15) minutes into the class because some children come late.

Catechists should keep track of attendance on your master class attendance sheets, as well as writing the names of the absent children on the green forms.

ANY TIME (even when splitting classes) if you have a child in your class that is not on the your list – please indicate that on your attendance form and inform your coordinator.

The Coordinator will collect the Attendance sheets and take any notes from parents.  Follow up the next week to see if the absent children completed any missing work.

 

  • HOMEWORK:  Individual catechists should not assign their own homework.  If you have ideas for homework, talk it over with the coordinator and DRE.  If homework was assigned, before you begin your next lesson, go over the work in class.

 

  • 6TH, 7TH & 8TH GRADE HELPERS:  In the Regular Program Grades 1-3 may have helpers completing service hours in the classroom.  These students are in your class for service, please be sure to let them be an active part of your class. Catechists CANNOT approve a child to come for service, not even their own child – ALL 6th, 7th & 8th graders must schedule their service through the office.

If your child will be assisting you in class you must tell the office. We will add them to the list of student aides and they should let the Coordinator know that they are there. It is important for us to know who is in the building each class – for any type of emergency that may arise.

  • SNACKS:  In grades 1-5 ( Regular Tuesday and Thursday) the children in class take turns bringing snacks.  It is the catechist’s responsibility to keep track of who is to bring snacks the following week.  It is then noted on a Snack Sheet that a child will take home.

Nuts or snacks made with nuts are NOT allowed nor are drinks.  Please remember that young children after a long day of school need a snack to help them concentrate on their catechesis lesson.  Snacks should never be omitted and will in fact make your class run smoother.

Grades 6th – 8th – if you would like to bring in a snack/treat for a reward or party, please do so but again, you must follow the no nuts and no drink policy.

At the end of class please make sure that the desks do not have any food crumbs, food wrappings, etc. on them.

  • CHURCH:  The Regular Tuesday/Thursday Program does go to church over the course of the year.  Please remind the children each time before they come to church to show reverence and participate.  Also as they enter the church they should be quiet.   In addition, most of the time we will dismiss from church so make sure that the classrooms are left in order and that the children have their possessions.

Have a child hold the door open so that YOU may be the first one to enter and lead your class to their seats.

Explain about making the Sign of the Cross with Holy Water as they enter.  Decide before hand how you will have them line up outside the pew and genuflect as a class before going into the pew.  They should then place the kneelers quietly down and say a prayer.

Sit behind your class so that you can see what they are doing. Remember that you are there to guide the students through their time in church – so pay attention to make sure they are following along correctly and paying attention.

In the Upper Church please do NOT use the first pew, on either side, because they have no kneelers.

Younger Grades Sit in Front

You may use two pews per room. Spread the class out between the two pews so that the children have space between each other and less likely to talk.

Sunday Classes – you will go over to church once. We will participate in a 9:00 down Mass. There will be a section reserved for your classes.

  • BABYSITTING:  Babysitting is available in the Kinane Center on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 4:00 – 5:30.  You must register with us at the beginning of the year indicating that you need babysitting for your younger children.

 Please call the office to let us know if you do NOT need babysitting on a particular day.

  • CHANGES TO CLASSES:    

A catechist is not allowed to move children in or out of their classes.  All changes are made by the office only.  A catechist should not indicate to the parent that it is “all right” with them, that a child be moved into their class.  Please just tell the parent that they must call the office.  Much work goes into the class placements, a move is not as simple as one parent makes it out to be.

 

Some ideas for being a good catechist:

Ten Little Things That Make A Difference!