There is a popular tagline among teachers these days that reads, “Teaching is my superpower. What’s yours?” We get it printed on coffee cups and t-shirts and display the thought proudly. I suppose, now, everyone in the country deserves a t-shirt, but I’ve always thought it to be a privilege to be able to do something that so many people claim they could never do.
I hear all the time, “I could never be a teacher because I would—”(I’ll let you fill in the blank). We’ve all seen the hilarious memes and videos of parents leaving messages for their teachers begging for forgiveness and demanding school to go back. I believe those sentiments are real and I feel their pain!
The last several months have raised so many questions, fears, opinions, and it seems like everyone has the answer. As a teacher, parent, and just another person living in the middle of this nightmare, I believe the real answer is to pray. It’s no secret or surprise that our school officials, teachers, students, parents, and all departments of education from curriculum and instruction to maintenance need all of our prayers.
Everyone Can Do It
Whether your kids are going back to school in-person or online, you can pray.
Whether you have kids or not, you can pray.
Whether or not you agree with every decision made regarding school, you can pray.
Whether you are teaching “in the classroom” or work at the Board of Education, you can pray.
As a teacher, parent, and just another person living in the middle of this nightmare, I believe the real answer is to pray.
The Smaller Concerns
As I prepared to return to school both in-person and virtually—at the same time—I found myself praying “little, silly” prayers like:
I pray that my work pants still fit.
I pray that those Starbucks gift cards still roll in at Christmastime; they are essential!
I pray that when teaching my virtual students, the camera doesn’t actually add 10 pounds. I’m still working off the quarantine 15!
I pray that the closed caption button is OFF. Y’all have seen how some things get translated when voice-texting.
I pray that the technology doesn’t crash.
I pray that I can teach over my growling stomach. Quarantine trained my stomach to need a snack every hour on the hour.
The Bigger Concerns
Of course, those are small concerns in the grand scheme of the purpose of education, but real concerns to a teacher nonetheless. When my school finally gave the all clear to come into the building to plan and prepare for students, my heart went from being concerned about these little things to the bigger stuff.
Our emails were flooded with procedural changes that changed again…and again. We were trained on how to clean, what to do if all the “ifs” happen, and bombarded with technology training, which, by the way, we should all hold honorary doctorate degrees in Google Classroom now because we’ve learned all the things. I didn’t feel like an educator about to start my 15th year of teaching. I felt like a brand spanking new teacher and may or may not still have that deer in headlights look from time to time.
But, We Have This Superpower
You know what nobody had to train us in though? How to teach. How to care. How to love. How to meet our students right where they are. Nobody had to remind me to “see” each kid. Nobody had to remind me to feel compassion and desire to help get a student from point A to point B. Nobody had to remind me or train me to set high expectations and then help them reach them. Nobody had to train me to look past a student’s present situation or home life or behavior problems last year, or quirkiness this year to see that they were also created by a God who loves them and has a plan for them.
Nope. For an educator, those things come naturally. Those things wake us up every day. Those things keep us coming back the next day.
We All Need Your Prayers
In the midst of the fear, panic, change, and “new” normal it’s easy to focus on those things and forget to pray. On behalf of all those in the education world, I ask you to pray. We all need God to do a mighty work in whatever area we serve. From the maintenance crew cutting grass, to those who prepare lunch for our students, to the counselor concerned about kids, to the teacher in front of them, we need your prayers.
Will You Please Pray These Things For Us?
Wisdom. How to handle situations. When to speak and when not to.
Resources. From cleaning supplies, technology, power cords, and high-speed internet!
Flexibility. We’re all like first year teachers this year!
To have a servant’s heart. To be willing to do “jobs” that might not be in our job description.
To embrace fresh starts. For our hearts to be prepared each new day because His mercies are new every day.
To give grace…abundantly. We must give grace and trust our leaders and know which battles to fight with our students.
Gratitude. We have jobs.
To grow in our faith and trust in God. To rely on Him…and each other.
Safety, protection, and peace of mind. The future is uncertain in all areas of life.
To be a sign of hope. Our students are still looking at us and how we respond.
Creativity. We are having to think outside the box like never before, but there are some cool things beyond the box.
Let’s Get After It Together
If I’m being honest, it will be humanly impossible to wake up every day and “get after it,” as my husband always said to his football players at each practice. It will be humanly impossible to teach with the same zeal and effort after lunch as we do during first period. It will be humanly impossible for us to see, hear, and feel every student the way that Jesus sees, hears, and feels for them.
My prayer, honestly, every day is that I will wake up with all the superpower God can give me. That I will lay aside my preferences for others’ good every day. I pray that His power is stronger than any selfishness I have.
For my fellow teachers, I encourage you to wake up in His power every day. Meet with Him and look for Him every single day so that you can teach at 1:30 in the afternoon on the last day the same way that you do at 8:00 in the morning on the very first day. Or, when the internet goes out, it doesn’t matter because your students know that you love them and you’ll pick up right where you left off without missing a beat…because you do your best to love them the way He does.
There will be days where you don’t feel like a superhero, or you don’t feel super or powerful, but there is One who is super powerful and can do it all through you. Pray for yourself. Pray for others. Let’s get after it and have a great year!
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