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Career Story: Director Of Religious Education For A Catholic Church

Director Of Religious Education For A Catholic Church

Job Title: Director Of Religious Education

Type of Company: I am the director of religious education for a Roman Catholic church.

Education: BS, Psychology, James Madison University •• MA, Educational Psychology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Previous Experience: I worked for a number of years as a social worker which led to a position in safe environment training for the Roman Catholic church. I then moved into religious education.

Job Tasks: My job is to oversee the religious education of children in grades K-5 at a Roman Catholic church. My main responsibilities include the management of the "Sunday school" classes, planning and preparing children for first Reconciliation and first Communion, and organizing vacation bible school.

This job requires good communication and listening skills, organization, and leadership. I recruit and train over 150 volunteers each year. I have over 550 children in the program so I need to work with many adult volunteers to make the program a success.

There are many parts of this job that I would imagine being similar to that of a school principal. Like a principal, I have to "hire" teachers and make sure they are appropriately trained to teach. I develop a syllabus for each grade level and provide enrichment activities at all levels. When there are discipline issues with children, I am the person who handles the problem.

I also have to ensure that religious education is available to all children. I have several children with special needs (autism, mental retardation, cerebral palsy) who cannot participate in a regular class and I have had to a create a special program for them.

I have a secretary who registers all of the children for classes and assigns students to the specific class he or she will attend. I work with a staff of 13 other people at this church to make sure the mission is carried out.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is serving God and others. I love being able to minister to children and families in good times and in hard ones. It is wonderful when your career matches the values of your personal life. I think doing what you love and getting paid to do it leads to a very happy life.

The hardest part of my job is working with difficult people. In all careers, there will be people you work well with and people who are challenging. It is expected that when you work for God you are always nice and happy and helpful....and that's not always easy.

Job Tips:
1.) Learn to be a very good listener. People are much more interested in talking about themselves than hearing your stories. You will be a tremendous help to people if you can listen well. Being a therapist before this job was the best experience ever.

2.) Working for a religious institution can be emotionally draining. Learn to take care of yourself.

3.) Read a lot. There is always more to learn.

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