Is anyone a lay chaplain in a school? Or been one previously or know anyone who is? I have seen and considered jobs before, but there is one being advertised in our local secondary school that I really feel called to. It seems so strange because I am not particularly unhappy in my current job and it would be a significant pay cut, although being term time only is attractive, but I think it would really make me happy. Does anyone have any experiences to share?
I know some chaplains lay and ordained and have done chaplaincy myself. My experience isn't in schools but some of the same principals apply I expect.
You spend a lot of time appearing to do nothing more than chatting and hanging about so you need to really like being with people. You are building relationships and listening which is really good but hard to measure. It is really important to do this as when stuff hits the fan the chaplain is known and trusted. My experience is not that a chaplain has all the answers but has a framework where it is safe to ask the questions. You need to have thought through some of this stuff so some theological training is essential. It is tough emotionally and spiritually but incredibly rewarding.
In schools chaplaincy is often combined with a teaching role. In the NHS it is often part time. In the NHS chaplaincy is often generic so you are expected to be able to work with all faiths and none and know enough about the different faith traditions to call in expert help when needed.
Could you volunteer at a school, university or hospital chaplaincy to see what it is like? It isn't for everyone but it could be the best thing you ever do.