Have I told you lately how much I love my new school? I love my students. I love my co-workers. I love my paraeducator/righthand. But no matter how much I love it, the job of a public school teacher is mighty hard.
The state heaps demand-after-demand on us in the effort to raise test scores and student achievement. But their demands seem out-of-touch when it comes to what a teacher can realistically squeeze into one day. There’s only so much we can do, but it seems someone always thinks we should do more.
Not to mention that our babies need lots of lovin’. So many children come to the schoolhouse from a home life marked by dysfunction. Many come to school hungry for more than breakfast.
Teachers’s brains never shut off. We’re always trying to find a better way to get it through to our students. Always trying to instill good character into our ornery angels. Always trying to keep our perspective student-centered.
That last one is the hardest. It’s easy to become so overwhelmed with the tasks that we forget the living, breathing treasures we only get to nurture for a short nine months.
When I walk in the copy room and stand out on bus duty, I see a weary look in my colleagues’ eyes. Maybe they see it in mine, too. Seems like now would be a good time to pray for teachers. If you’re a teacher, I hope this prayer will resonate with your overwhelmed heart. And if you love someone who’s a teacher, I hope you’ll share this post with him or her. Sometimes, it just helps to know someone understands. And it always helps to know God sees us and hears our heart-felt prayers.
Teaching is not for the faint-of-heart. I know you see how teachers struggle to meet the ever-growing demands of our school districts and the always urgent needs of our students. Help us, Lord.
Help us fix our eyes on the faces.
All the lesson plans, benchmark tests, intervention strategies, and papers to grade loom heavy on us. It’s so easy to become so wrapped up in those teacher tasks that we forget the students. The only way we can keep our passion is to keep on peering into those young faces and remember they are the big picture.
Help us to create a safe haven in our classrooms.
A classroom should be much like a womb: a warm, safe place for our students to develop. Help us make the most of our short time with our students. Give us such a supernatural love for them that we don’t waste time dreading Mondays and begging for summer vacation. Help us be ever-present, making the most of every opportunity because nine months is shorter than we think. Give us a sense of urgency that fits the importance of what we’re doing.
Help us to remember to take care of the teacher.
The responsibilities aren’t going anywhere. The to-do list will never be fully crossed off. Help us to do the best we can each day and then lay it down so we can embrace our families and the other people and things that make our hearts soar. Give us wisdom in how to strive for excellence at work without letting it consume us.
Strengthen our weary hearts, Lord.
Breathe in fresh life to our teaching.
Renew our passion for investing in the next generation.
In Jesus’s name I pray, AMEN