Monday, 11 June 2012

New Job! School teacher/chaplain!

I was offered two jobs today at two different schools as a teacher/chaplain.

2 years ago I started to get the urge, push, what have you to go back to teaching. But as a fifty year old who had been out of teaching for ten years I didn't have high hopes.

I went into teaching after being a Franciscan and then a prison chaplain. I took my degree while working full time because I was depressed working with kids after the fact - once they were in jail.

So I got a teaching job with street kids and enjoyed it a great deal. The job was necessary, the kids needed an advocate, and I was good at the job. Eventually though too many years of prison ministry and street kids tired me out, and I went into admin. I became a school administrator.

However school administration didn't give me the same returns that hands-on teaching did.  When my wife gave birth to a child with Down Syndrome I was shaken fundamentally and my whole perception of the world changed.  I felt I had to go and do battle with the world and protect my child. So I quit teaching and went into the insurance and mutual fund industry.

While this gave me time to spend with Peter (my son) and then the other children that came along, I gradually became disillusioned with the industry.  But I didn't know what else to do. I thought I had blown my teaching career totally.

So when I went on retreat to the Franciscan retreat house I was quite surprised to feel a strong urge to go back teaching.  However, going back was not easy. I had to re-prove myself to the school board and go through a myriad of security background checks and fingerprints etc. It took a year for the paperwork to be ready to go back.   Once the paperwork was through I was quite optimistic and emailed the chief superintendent - and received this reply

"Hi Anthony.  So nice to hear from you and thank you for such a lovely letter.  Your timing is not great as we currently have about 1000 staff looking to be placed in about 120 positions.  I am not sure if we will be doing any hiring of new teachers at this point but know that the last I heard we had almost 1000 people on our guest teacher roster and hundreds of applicants for permanent positions.  At this point we have not even promised our successful probationary teachers that they will have a position in the fall.  I am so sorry if this does not sound promising but it is our reality right now.  Please keep your file active and hang in there with guest teaching to see what unfolds over the next couple of years."

I was quite disheartened about this.

However, the Holy Spirit was hard at work  - I was asked by my parish priest if I had considered the permanent deaconate, and I had years ago.  So I talked to my wife and we decided I should apply and learn as we went.  At the same time I started going to the "That Man Is You" program at my parish, and my wife an I began saying the Office together.

All of a sudden two weeks ago I got a subbing job at a nearby high-school and the school chaplain popped in and asked to see me. Two jobs were coming up and would I like to apply. 

Long story short - I got offered both positions and took the job 10km from home.  And also today the Chancellor of the Diocese phoned and requested that I call the priest in charge of the diaconate intake since the "results are in."  I asked if I should be worried and after a hearty laugh was told "no!"

So I don't know yet, but I may also be in the diaconate formation program on the same day that I got a job as a school chaplain!

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