Chaplain loves working with kids

HELPING HAND: West Harbour School chaplain Raewyn Moodie with Jade Jerome, left, and Seluaina Alefaio, both 11.
HELPING HAND: West Harbour School chaplain Raewyn Moodie with Jade Jerome, left, and Seluaina Alefaio, both 11.

Raewyn Moodie, 51, lives in Hobsonville with her husband Craig and works as a chaplain at West Harbour School. She tells reporter Stephen Forbes about a day in her life.

I joined the team at West Harbour School in February and work one day a week as a volunteer chaplain.

I start work on Tuesday at 10.30am and my first port of call is usually the staff room.

I like to have a chat with the teachers about anything that may have come up.

They might have a new child in their class or a student who has some issues.

The teachers refer the children to me if they feel they need to have a chat.

It might be a child who doesn't know how they are going to make friends at school or it might be a student who has issues dealing with their emotions. But each case I deal with is quite different.

Sometimes we do a bit of role playing.

It's a good way to empower them to make the choices they need to make or I might give them a question to go away and think about.

I usually spend about 30 to 40 minutes with each child.

I'm not here to teach the children about God. I'm here to listen in confidence and provide support on a one-on-one basis.

At lunchtime I'll wander around the playground and speak to the kids. Then after the break I do more one-on-one sessions.

I usually see five or six children on a one-on-one basis each week. That's on top of some of the informal chats I have with them in the playground.

A teacher is often looked at as an authority figure and some children find it hard to share things with them. And with close to 30 children in a lot of primary school classes they don't always have the time for an in-depth one-on-one conversation. So that's where I come in as a chaplain.

I love working with kids and I also see it as a way of supporting teachers, because I know it's a hard job.

I worked for almost 30 years as a primary school teacher. Then last year I trained as a chaplain through the Churches Education Commission.

I also teach music and work as a family and community pastor at the Westgate Baptist Church.

It's the students that make the job worthwhile. I love the kids.

It's so rewarding to have one of them come running up to me to give me a hug or tell me about their life.

The school has welcomed me with open arms and the staff here are wonderful. It's a great environment to work in.

Western Leader