Thursday, March 15, 2012

After 10 years, on and off, of teaching Special Religious Education in Schools, I was told today that I could no longer teach in Schools.
It isn’t because of secular ethics, nor gross misconduct on my part. Simply that I’m bad at holding on to certificates.
My SRE teaching experience began at Wentworth Falls Public School and sitting in with a very experienced SRE teacher at Katoomba High School, back in 2002. I taught Primary for two years and High School for five. The first classes were terrifying, but you eventually got into a rhythm. Most helpful were the (then optional) Youthworks courses that we did one day down at Emu Plains, on the bible, classroom management, child development etc.
Of course this was combined with the onslaught of Child protection courses, which grabbed you wherever you went.
Now, at the end of each of these courses you get a certificate. But does a 22yr old who has walked away from a career to teach the gospel for free keep a good filing system. Not this one!! (it was an arts career after all) Nine house moves, two floods and one theological degree later, the chances of finding those certs are slim.
So when I’m informed that to continue teach scripture I will have to have completed said courses, I’m not too worried. I’ve done them, yep, trained, tick, yikes the people even ordained me. Nothing to worry about. Keep teaching kids.
But, you do in fact have to have those certificates.
So, they will be in that pile of papers somewhere right? Right???
And I’ll get to them when I get time for it , right?

Now, it is my own silly fault for not keeping the pieces of paper for optional courses that then become mandatory later. But it still raises a problem for teaching Scripture in schools, and churches recruiting people to do it.
The assumption is that those who teach scripture are nice, stable people who keep a nice filing system. Now this shouldn’t have come as a surprise. I learned fairly early on teaching scripture that the lesson material assumed that you had a car and quite a budget to spend on your lessons.
But here is the problem.
Some of our Scripture teachers are nice , stable people, with (I assume) good filing habits.
However. Most of our nice, stable people in church are off in nice, stable jobs, and so can’t teach the SRE they get so angry about defending. That sometimes leaves the crazy fools who just want to tell people about Jesus.

I’m not sure what the next step is for me. I’m still hunting for those certificates. Perhaps I will have to sit through a few hours of training courses.

But my advice to all those young punks.....
be the crazy fool, leave your career, live in a squalid sharehouse because the church pretends to pay you, be unstable, move alot if you have to. You will find places to speak of Jesus' kingdom without accreditation. But hey, if you can do that and hold onto those certificates, that would probably make sense too.

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