Today I thought I would share what a “typical” day looks like as a school Chaplain. I work part time in two government schools, so I do not run religious services but am there to provide pastoral care, mental health and well being support. I mainly work with students but I am also there for teachers and parents.
1. I arrive at school and chat with the admin staff and teachers and see how school has been the last few days. As I work part time at two schools I am only in a school a maximum two days a week. They might let me know of students who have been struggling a bit.
2. I help run a breakfast club. This is where we prepare food for the students who want to come along. We have fruit, cereals, bacon, eggs, pancakes and all are welcome. Some do not have much food at home, some have long bus rides and some come for the social aspect. Brekkie club helps me to connect with the students and see who is not looking themselves and I can catch up with later in the day.
3. Once brekkie club is over and cleaned up I head in to the classrooms. My Principal wants me to spend time in each classroom over my two days at one school. So I head to the first class on the list and talk to the teacher and see which students need my help. Sometimes I just sit and assist with their work and other times I might go for a walk with them to talk about school or life in general.
4. At lunch time and morning recess I am out in the playground. As I love sport I am usually kicking a footy, playing soccer or playing some other sport. This really helps me to connect with the students and have fun with them. Often a student will ask we we can go for a walk and talk as a result or they might ask if I can come and sit with them in class after the break. I usually have my breaks straight after the students when they go back to class.
5. Often I might be called to the office or a classroom if a student is having a bad day. This takes priority over the class schedule I am given. I usually sit with the student and talk or we might go for a walk. Usually after about 15-20 minutes most students are ready to return to class and re-engage with their work.
6. At the end of the day I see the kids off at the buses. I just hang with them and talk until the buses arrive. I try to be really positive and encouraging and remind them of some of the good things they did during the day. There are a lot of high fives and fist bumps involved. I then might talk with some teachers and see how they are going and then head off home.
The only time my day differs is if we have a combined school sports day or some other combined event. But this is pretty much a “typical” day for me. Most of my time is spent with students, but I also spend time with teachers and parents too.
Being a school Chaplain is a great job. It is one where you go home each day knowing you have made a real positive difference in peoples lives.