Our Young Vocations Resource Officer, Heather Waldsax, reflects on teaching as a vocation – with 34 years experience to draw on!
Earlier this year, at a national consultation for Young Vocations Champions, I was in a discussion group with a young vicar who admitted that a few years ago I had taught him Religious Education! I realised that he was one of a number of young vocations who I have taught.
Over a career of 34 years teaching RE in two Church schools in Dorset, I have come into contact with thousands of young people. Over the years I have met parents or the young people themselves after they have left school and heard stories of their journeys of faith or journeys towards faith. These are always inspirational!
I wish in some ways that I had kept a record of those who I have taught or tutored, in particular, who have become teachers, RE teachers, youth workers, been ordained, or entered the religious life. There are also those who live out their Christian calling in the secular world, witnessing to their faith through the way they live.
I am aware of a number of students who went on to become Heads of RE and senior teachers from the school I taught in for 14 years as well as some ordinands. In the past 20 years I have known of several Christian young people going on to become teachers and then returning to their old school to be senior members of staff. This is quite powerful for the students they now teach. This has happened with RE teachers as well. Working alongside those who I have taught has been thought-provoking as well as a privilege. There are a number of students who have gone on to be youth workers and also some who have been ordained in the Church of England, a brother and sister included! I know of one young woman who took religious orders and others who have vocations in other Christian denominations.
Being in good Church schools where the Christian ethos is clear and the RE teaching done by specialist teachers, where young people were allowed to question and to develop on their spiritual journey, as well as achieve academically has stood them in good stead. They were encouraged to find out what they were good at and to work hard to achieve it.
The Church of England needs good teachers, just as it needs good priests, deacons, and lay ministers.
So could God be calling you to be a teacher? Perhaps an RE teacher?
If you want to explore this path, please get in touch.
Heather Waldsax – Heather.Waldsax@salisbury.anglican.org