Ready or not, school is starting back. We blinked and summer flew by. Now, parents are scurrying up and down the back to school aisles getting those last minute supplies, students are comparing schedules hoping to have classes with their friends, and teachers are busy preparing their classrooms for a great school year. For the first time in 3 years, I’m not busy preparing my classroom. Instead, I’m preparing my home for a newborn. I’m excited for what the adventure of being a stay at home mom is going to bring, but as I think about my teacher friends going back to school this week, my heart goes out to them. Teachers, I know the mixed bag of emotions you’re feeling as you say goodbye to your summer and say hello to lesson plans and grading. You’re sad to see summer end, but you’re also excited to meet your students and see what the school year holds. You have such a huge calling laid out before you, teachers. Daily, you get to pour into the lives of students. You have a big task ahead of you, a task that requires much prayer. So teachers, here are my prayers for you as you jump into this new school year…
1. I pray that you have compassion on your students. Each of your students will come from a different home life and a different background- some good, some bad. The very student that causes you the most trouble, could be the very student that needs Jesus. Just like Jesus looked on people with compassion, I pray that you may see your students with eyes of compassion.
2. I pray that Jesus fills you with His joy. Some days will be easier than others to have joy. Having joy will be a choice, and it can only be done with Jesus’ help. I pray that Jesus fills you with His joy when the copy machine is broken, when you have mounds of papers to grade, and when your students are driving you extra crazy. What a witness it will be to your students for them to see you filled with joy, even on the hard days.
3. I pray that your students know that you love them and care for them. There’s a quote that says, “Your students won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I believe that there is so much truth to this statement. I believe that things will go far better for you and your students in your classroom if they know that you love them and care for them.
4. I pray that you will teach like Jesus. Jesus was the absolute best Teacher of all. Jesus taught with compassion and love, and He taught with authority given to Him by the Father. You have been given the authority in your classroom. Teach with that authority, but do so with love and compassion.
5. I pray that you are surrounded by awesome teachers. I pray that the teachers you are surrounded with are positive and have joy. I pray that they encourage you to be better. I pray that they are there for you with words of wisdom when you need it most. I pray that they’ll have a funny story to share with you on the days that you need to laugh. I pray that they’ll have that extra quarter you need to get your daily dose of caffeine from the vending machine. I pray that they’ll get your copies off the printer when you forget. When you’re surrounded by other awesome teachers, it makes your school year awesome as well.
6. I pray that you are the teacher mentioned in #5. Be a blessing to those you teach with. Just like you’ll need that quarter for a Diet Dr. Pepper one day, your teacher friend will need one too!
7. I pray that you learn to give yourself some grace. Of course you should teach to the best of your ability. This is what is most glorifying to Jesus, but let’s face it- you are human. There will be days when your classroom doesn’t look Pinterest-worthy, your lesson doesn’t go as planned, and your grading will be so piled up that you won’t know if you’ll get caught up. It’s okay. Do the best you can, give yourself some grace, and move on.
I pray that the copier always works for you- especially when you have to give a test in 10 minutes and just remembered you didn’t make copies. I pray that your coffee is strong. I pray that your students make you laugh and vice-versa. I pray that you have many snow days. I pray that this school year is one of the best.
Most importantly, I pray that everything that you say and do points your students to Jesus. Every day that you step into your classroom, you step into a mission field. You will have students who know Jesus. I pray that the Lord uses you to encourage these students in their walk with Christ. You will have students who don’t know Jesus. I pray that the Lord uses you to share the Gospel with these students, and that they would come to know Christ.
Teachers, you have a huge calling ahead of you this year. Do not take it lightly. Lean on Jesus, and let Him use you in mighty ways.