“I Was Hired as a Teacher and Don’t Want to Deal With All This Other ‘Stuff’. Why Should I?”

“I was hired as a teacher, since that’s what I was trained to do.  I don’t want to have to deal with all this other stuff that doesn’t have to do with what goes on outside the classroom.  I have enough to do to make sure my students achieve to their potential.”

I wonder how many people started out doing what they’re doing right now?  How many people prepared to be engineers now finding themselves going back to school for accounting?  Or how many accountants are now going back to school for IT experience?  Or how many IT professionals are now studying to be teachers?

If you’re a teacher and aspire to becoming a principal someday, you will be responsible for developing a budget for your school, supervising and perhaps disciplining the employees that work for you, and caring for a physical plant that includes maintenance, safety, and technology issues, as well as all those rules and regulations adopted by federal and state governments (which, by the way, have a good chance of changing, even while your changing your practices to adapt to the current guidelines).

When I began college, I was a Music Education major.  While I could arrange music for a 17 piece jazz band as well as an orchestra and play every band instrument, I, to this day, cannot look at two lines of music and have one go to my left hand and the other go to my right.  One class – piano – kept me from attaining my degree.  I ended up with a degree in Communications, and for a time, I was an on-air radio announcer, a public affairs director, a production director and a program director.  Between radio jobs, I was able to work on getting my education certification, and taught in a Catholic school.  Then the FCC decided to deregulate the broadcast industry, and sweeping changes were made.  Advances in digital technology allowed automated programming, shortened production time and improved quality.  Staffs were significantly reduced.  My experience in public radio development served me well, though, and I was able to find work as a sales consultant, and, after a period of time, produce a radio program for a Diocese.  When funding for the program disappeared, there was a need for someone with development experience in the Schools Office, and since I had teaching experience, that was a plus.  Did I ever think I would be doing what I’m doing?  No.  We don’t know the plans that God has for us.

A friend of mine who is a CFO at a Diocese was asked to be a guest speaker regarding parish finances for a class of seminarians.  At the end of the class, he wished them well with the rest of their course work in this important topic.  The instructor said that this wan’t a course on parish finances – this was the class on parish finances.  There was no course on parish finances.  Yet, how many pastors today face incredible financial challenges in the parishes they shepherd?   They rely on expertise from their finance council and other advisors, but are still responsible for the decisions they make regarding the parish.

Let’s go back a into history.  About 2,000 years ago, a man called a 3 fishermen, a tax collector and a 8 others to be his friends.  Were they prepared to take on the challenge of spreading the Good News to all the world?  Were they trained in public speaking?  Were they learned religious leaders?  Remember that God doesn’t call the equipped – He equips the called.