Today was the last day of summer. Not by the equinox, but by the calender determined by the almighty school district. My husband and I are both educators and tomorrow, we begin a new school year. This year will be our fifth year teaching— so it’s bound to be a landmark year, right?
What is interesting about our teaching careers, is that every year has begun with something “new”– and this year is no different. Nathan, after four years at the middle school level will be transitioning to teaching high school. (He’s ecstatic!) I will have a new co-teacher. (I was blessed to be able to work with the same person through three years and last year I was solo.) And, on top of it all, our Corbin is beginning Pre-K. I’ve already found the transition from teacher to “parent of a student” to be difficult.
I am facing this year with anticipation: the good kind where you cannot wait to see what this year holds. However, not every year has been that way. And while my sincere hope would be that everyone could begin their school years with joy and excitement, I know that amongst the approximate 3 million teachers in the United States, many, due to circumstances, are not looking forward to the new school year for a variety of reasons. Teaching is messy, and hard…… and not for the faint of heart. Now, don’t think I’m getting a hero complex over my choice of career. To be honest….I kind of stink. I’m emotional, (the kids hurt my feelings and I go home crying over their bad choices and their pain), impatient ( I don’t tolerate lazy well……) and on many days I do not take criticism well.
So how do I do it? I have help. Psalms 121: 1-2 says,
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth. (NKJV)
So how do I do it? Through prayer.
I have always! believed in the power of prayer. I have witnessed countless examples in my own life (that’s another blog post) and in the lives of those around me, of answers to prayers– big requests and small.
James 5:16b: The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (NKJV)
The continual, constant, passionate prayer of a righteous man will bring about much. I learned quickly in my first year that my days went better if I prayed before the day began. However, last year I began a new approach and would spend the first 15 minutes after I got to school to pray over myself, my classroom and my students. The change was phenomenal. I learned to be specific and I learned if you invite the Holy Spirit in somewhere, HE WILL COME. That’s pretty awesome for a public school system. So, while most days, many teachers may find themselves muttering, or reciting the “Serenity Prayer,” the following is my prayer for the beginning of this school year.
Create in me a new heart of pure intent and ignite a passion in my soul so that I might be ever pleasing to you. In all my interactions this year, let me honor you. Jesus, walk with me Lord in every hallway and classroom. Holy Spirit, fill every crevice of my soul that when I speak it might be of you. Guard me, protect me. Come into our classroom and fight for the safety of our students. Let no evil thing pass through our doorway, and Lord, fill our classroom with a spirit of peace, creativity, and inspiration. Lord, allow our room in every way possible, to be a haven– where students can come, knowing they are cared for and learn in a safe place.
Grant me patience and help me see each student as you see them.Help me to love them as you love them, even when they are unlovable. Let it be the same for their parents. As I offer my gifts before you to honor you, Lord please bless the fruits of my labor. Allow me to teach and inspire each student I am given. If I may not teach them of Your love, Lord help them to see it through my actions.
Lord, help me to accept criticism with grace and to honor authority even if I might not agree with outcome. Help me to remember to pray for others: teachers, principals, students and their families.
Above all, Lord keep me humble. I am nothing! less than nothing without you Lord God. Thank you for bestowing me with the task at hand and keep me mindful to the many blessing you have already bestowed me.
In Jesus’ name, I ask these things: (John 14:14)
AMEN (means “so be it.”)