Should chaplains teach?

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Opinions are often sharply divided over the question of whether chaplains should teach or not. What do you think?

The question put for this poll was:

Teaching is an essential element of a school chaplain’s role.

The results were closer than I thought they might be.

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
Start date 03-11-2017 08:08:25
End date 06-11-2017 12:00:00
Poll Results:
Teaching is an essential element of a school chaplain's role.

In posting this poll a number of chaplains said to me that they didn’t like the question. That they didn’t think teaching was essential but that they could see that it is a valuable tool for building relationships and respect with students and teachers.

From time to time I have heard the assertion that ‘chaplains won’t have credibility if they don’t teach’. This is not a position I agree with. Mostly I don’t agree because I have seen chaplains who don’t teach having a profound impact on their school through their pastoral care and community building role. Certainly chaplains who don’t teach need to be more intentional about how they build relationships but this can be a very healthy thing.

On the other hand I have been witness to chaplains near burnout because of the teaching load they carry alongside their other duties.

So I don’t think it is either or…I think chaplains should be able to choose to teach or not depending on their skill set and their desire. However maybe there is a limit to how much a chaplain should teach if they are to have the space to fulfill other roles.

I wonder what you think about this?

Stephen Harrison
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Stephen Harrison

Stephen has a passion for exploring mission and ministry. He has worked for the Anglican Church for the last twenty years mostly in the area of youth and children’s ministry. In this time he has worked for two churches, two Anglican schools, as a university chaplain and for the Brisbane Diocese as the Youth, Children’s and Families Officer. Currently he is the Director of Mission for the Anglican Schools Commission. He has degrees in Science, Theology, Community Welfare, Education and is currently working on a Doctorate in Ministry, focused on the church’s mission in Anglican schools.
Stephen Harrison
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2 Comments

  1. Liz Pemberton
    November 3
    Reply

    Not sure I like the way the question is phrased! I don’t think teaching is an essential part of a chaplain’s role, but I certainly think it can complement it and it can offer opportunites for connection with students that may not otherwise be available.

    • Stephen Harrison
      November 3
      Reply

      Liz – I agree with you. It would be great if all chaplains had the choice to teach or not.

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