Professional development opportunities in pastoral care were fairly limited at that time, but I discovered gold when I completed a Certificate in Pastoral Counselling through the Uniting Church. This course confirmed I had found where I was meant to be.
More recently, I undertook study in the Diocesan Christian Formation Course, Theology and Clinical Pastoral Education, which led me to work as a Pastoral Care Practitioner at the Calvary Mater Hospital and Spiritual Wellbeing Coordinator with Southern Cross Aged Care.
Just before Christmas 2019, about 17 opportunities for pastoral care workers were advertised in our diocesan schools. I was successful in obtaining the Pastoral Care Worker role at St Francis Xavier’s Primary School, Belmont.
With 25 years in education, together with 10 years’ experience in pastoral care, I was ready to embark on my dream job after 14 years of patiently waiting and preparing.
The role is essentially working as part of a big close-knit family, listening, caring, reaching out, establishing relationships, building rapport, making connections, collaborating and providing ongoing support. I work closely with the principal and staff to identify priority students and families in need of extra support.
Being the link between school and home through regular phone calls, emails and conversations provides an extra level of support in the community. I research and create parent resources, write newsletter items, participate in professional learning opportunities, and have established links with Vinnies and other local support services. I enjoy creative problem-solving, being flexible and adaptable and always being ready to attend to any request, need or situation as it arises. No two days are ever the same.
It is a privilege to be involved in a caring community that focuses on the wellbeing of all in a happy, positive and quality educative environment.
To find out more about St Francis Xavier's Primary School or to enrol your child, click here.