We recently asked HSP High School Science Teacher Deacon Mike Chernick to share about his unique career journey from UPS to HSP. In the first post in our brand-new Teacher Perspectives Series, discover how a chance meeting with an old friend opened a door to the teaching world for him and how God led him to join our school community.
An Answer to Prayer
When I retired early from UPS in 2018, I thought that I might teach somewhere part time. I had no definitive plans, it was just “on my heart.” Three weeks later, I ran into a good friend of mine after an Alpha meeting at St. Thomas Aquinas. She approached me with a big smile on her face and told me that I was the “answer to her prayers.” Our conversation went something like this:
“Mike!!! You like teens right?”
“Yes, I love teens!”
“You are an electrical engineer, right?”
“How would you like to substitute for one of my math teachers going on maternity leave?”
Without the slightest hesitation, I knew what my answer was: “Sure!”
That was five years ago.
Since then, I’ve become a certified science teacher, and can now teach both middle and high school grade levels – and I can still do math! I taught in public school through the pandemic, as well as continued my Formation in the Diaconate. During my time there, I wanted to pray in the classroom and tell the students that Christ loves them. But because it was a public school, I always felt like I was holding my faith back. I felt that I should be doing more to let the students know that they are loved.
The Second “God-incidence”
Last year, in another “God-incidence,” one of my friend’s sons was dating a teacher at Holy Spirit Prep – and my friend that originally suggested that I try teaching had also begun working there. Through them, I became aware of a science teacher position that was open. Even though I liked the teachers and administration that I worked with at the public school, I felt that God was calling me to HSP. I knew that everything would be new, but I decided to apply for the position. By God’s grace, it was offered to me, and I started working here last August!
Faith, Science, and God’s Amazing Plan
My personal experience of attending Catholic schools in Pittsburgh, combined with the warm welcome from HSP staff, teachers, and students, made me feel like I was coming home the moment I stepped foot on campus.
Now when I teach regular and AP Biology and Human Anatomy, I get to share with students about the glory of God while examining life. My teaching style is to lead with love and passion, exploring God’s creation in a way that shows students how special nature and the human body are. Through experience and inquiry, I help them gain an understanding of how amazing life is in all its forms.
I am truly blessed to be a member of the HSP family, and to work with such a dedicated faculty and staff. While I wasn’t certain where God would lead me after UPS, I said one ‘”yes” at a time. God clearly has a plan for my life, and it’s much better than I could ever imagine. Whether you’re a student, parent, or teacher, my prayer is that you too can say “yes” to God’s plan for your own life, and you can experience His providence through grace and mercy. It is beautiful and good.
Deacon Mike Chernick is a high school science teacher at Holy Spirit Preparatory School.