This little excerpt from the group lobbying for SRE in NSW can be read as an inspiring story of dedication, or it can be read as clear evidence that when it comes to teaching the bible, anything goes. The fact is that SRE is a period of suspension of normal standards of education, a time when teachers are told to say “whatever”, and give the school over to some supposedly well meaning person to have a go at the kids.
It would almost read like a satire if it weren’t totally real.
I suppose if we look at SRE mainly as a chance for kids to interact with random 80 year olds … it is a great program. What is not to like?
And heck, if you don’t know anything about the Bible, but just want to talk to kids about “self esteem” … well that is fine too. Heck, phone it in, because this is just something that the schools must do because of the politics. Its not like these people should have to just invite kids to attend their churches or seminars ON THEIR OWN TIME … no, that would NEVER work. They demand a RIGHT to use the schools, because, well because, who is going to stop them?
Inspired or Insane? I think we all know the answer.
Let me tell you about a truly inspirational 80 year old who only began teaching SRE eight years ago. She asked me if I could suggest any good websites that her students could use if they want to know more about God. Shirley doesn’t have a computer herself. Shirley really feels that teaching SRE was a calling from God: she was invited into it by a chance meeting with a Catholic SRE teacher while posting a letter one day. Shirley had recently moved to the area after her husband had passed away. One of the challenges she has faced with the curriculum is the amount of bible content. “What I really needed was someone who could teach that” she said. She found that someone at the door of a new church which she began attending. He made a comment about teaching children and she thought he must be a teacher. “What I really would love to do is to teach the Bible”, he said. He now also teaches SRE. She confided that she’d had to work hard to prepare a recent lesson and it just didn’t sit right with her. It required quite a lot of different activities all going on at the same time and she just knew she wasn’t good at that. Undaunted Shirley found an extra lesson in the back of the book on self esteem. This struck a note with her, and after ten days of trying to prepare the set lesson she abandoned it for the alternative and had a good night’s sleep. Shirley is about to go overseas for a holiday but doesn’t need to worry about leaving her class as she’s also found another person in her new church who also wants to teach children about God. “I am so conscious that I am depending on God. My SRE lesson is the highlight of my week.”