Hypocrisy at Its Worst: Why Working in a Catholic School is Bad for the Soul

Posted: July 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Before I explain the title above, I wish to add a disclaimer:

Not ALL Catholic schools will steal your souls. I’m only talking about the ones in the diocese I belong to, Specifically, the one I used to work for — which shall be referred to as “That Which Shall Not Be Named”.

As mentioned in a previous post, I am a school teacher. I influence the lives of children in the middle school age range – 11-13 years old. I have been a school teacher for the past six years and most likely in a previous life. If one who is Catholic is actually allowed to believe in past lives. I’m pretty sure that would be frowned upon, too. But, I digress.

I am here to defend and explain the title of my post because I think it’s imperative for people to be aware of some of the hypocrisy (as if you did not already know about the hypocrisy of the Catholic church, right?) involved in the way adults who claim to be “Christian” truly behave. I shall use my former teaching position as excellent testimony to why I feel this way.

My introduction to working at a Catholic school went as follows:

Principal: I want to introduce the new teacher, Mrs. X, to ABC School. She will be working with the other teachers in the middle school team. Please break into your individual teams and spend time talking about…blah blah blah

Other Team Member: Our team needs a scapegoat, and I’ve decided that scapegoat will be YOU.

Yes, that was my first day of my new teaching career. I should have read the writing on the wall back then but I really wanted a job and this was my first big break into the profession. So I just pretended the words didn’t hurt and went on to teach.

Many at the school would say that it was all in my head, but I truly believe I never fit in and was never a welcomed member of the “team”. I knew this because when my old teaching partner took another position and her replacement came in, he was welcomed with open arms and suddenly everyone’s best buddy. If there were a question another teacher had for our grade level, they would run to him and listen raptly with delight as he filled them in on information that I had just provided to him. I was left entirely out of these conversations.

Three years into my position there, family situations began to develop. I had two brothers in dire health situations and two elderly parents — all of whom kept having to rotate in and out of hospitals for various reasons. I was unable to go visit any of them, and was under huge emotional stress over their situations. By this time, I was also becoming the social outcast at school. I kept drifting further and further apart from the rest of the staff – caught up in my own issues to really focus on building working relationships. I just couldn’t muster the time or energy to ask for help.

And that’s when my soul and spirit started to disappear. I did my job but that was it. I convinced myself that nobody cared about my situation so why bother to tell anyone? And the few times I did share with someone “in confidence”, it was all over the school by the end of the day. I am a private person who doesn’t enjoy having her business shared, especially to people who basically don’t care.

There is something very important I need to make clear here. I am a loyal friend and strong support for anyone in need. I can be told a secret in confidence and will keep that secret with me forever (unless there are situations where telling others is mandatory) and never betray a friend’s trust. But, before I ever get to that point I must be able to call you my friend. I am also not a hypocrite, fake friend or two-faced. If I don’t like you, you will know it and be treated accordingly. If you have managed to earn my trust then I’m all in. I don’t work in black and white and fair weathered anything.

Back to the work situation. As time passed and things leveled out for my family members, I was positive the working relationships would improve. Each subsequent year I promised myself I’d avoid the drama and try to be the cheerful, perfect Christian teacher filled with nothing but God’s love and acceptance of all others. What a waste of time that turned out to be.

When my dad died and there was no offer of support and compassion from anyone at work, that really hurt me. But, I soldiered on.  Then my mom died. I had written a very beautiful note about my mom’s influence on my life and it was shared with the whole staff. I counted on two fingers the number of staff who approached me and offered me condolences. Two. Out of twenty-five. More hurt, more anger, more distancing resulted. I was also pissed.

In a Catholic school, where we teach how Jesus died for our sins, weeps for us, loves us, has compassion for us and wants us to show and demonstrate His love for us everyday –a group of professionals didn’t give a rat’s ass about me.

The experience has left me with a very bitter taste in my mouth about Catholicism in general. I don’t understand how people who claim to be Christian can be so cold-hearted. This wasn’t how I was raised. If I see someone is suffering I won’t turn my back on them. I will offer whatever I have to them if they need it.

Because THAT is what a true Christian does.

Next Up: Outrage over the new “Morality Clause” in the Catholic Diocese: invalidation at its best

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