What happened to summer? How can it be time for another school year? Even though summer vacation has passed so quickly, it is indeed time for the 2017-2018 school year to begin. Teachers are preparing their classrooms, parents are buying school clothes, shoes, and supplies, and bus drivers are familiarizing themselves with new routes. It is a time of new beginnings.
As teachers, Deidre and I were drawn to the plaque pictured above. In Ch. I of our book, Deidre decribed me as a “teacher-teacher,” a nickname coined by a former student who saw me as someone who lived, breathed, and totally enjoyed teaching. He was right as I truly embraced the job and my “kids” – all 120+ of them every year. Some were challenging in a positive way – pushing me to find more and better ways to present an ever-changing curriculum. Others challenged me in a negative way with behavioral and learning difficulties that caused me to need an Excedrin occasionally!
Teaching, regardless of the nature of the challenges, is a unique career in which you have the ability to change a person’s life, enhance their abilities, and perhaps their view of themselves. A little positive reinforcement and consistent expectations can do wonders for that student who has heard criticism most their life and never had anyone hold them accountable. Our Chapter II – “Why Teach?” – talks about all of these topics and more, bringing back many memories.
Nevertheless, Deidre and I wish your children a wonderful, fun-filled school year; one in which they learn a lot and are blessed with the kind of teacher described above. May God keep them safe, and may they be a true example of a student who befriends and encourages others.
The Voices also want to remind teachers to stay encouraged throughout this school year. Although, you may love to teach, there will be those times when you will have to encourage yourself just like David did ( I Samuel 30:6) as you hit those extremely difficult situations or when no one else recognizes the many sacrifices of extra time, money, and other resources you naturally want to give in order to make your daily “sphere of influence” (your classroom) the best it can possibly be for your students in a new demanding school year.
Ephesians 4:11-13, states how, “He (GOD) gave some to be apostles; and some prophets; and some pastors; and teachers…” The word some denotes that only a portion of us were graced with the gift of teaching. As Christian teachers, you have been placed in either a public, a private, or a Christian school to be both SALT & LIGHT (Matthew 5:13-16). We must not forget that God specifically chose only “some” of us to prepare and preserve our future legacy. Those precious human commodities have also been called and chosen, and they must also be taught that they all have a God-given purpose. As students begin to grasp this concept, they will begin to enjoy and want to learn. They must be inspired to understand how they will be the ones who will assume various leadership and/or other roles that will impact all other future generations. Remind your students how school is a huge part of their preparation in order to discover their purpose.
So, when the going gets tough, stand right where you are, and “man your ground” to the best of your abilities. God is always watching, and He is definitely with you because those of us who teach, really do touch the future. We can also share in the blessing of feeling proud as well as we state, ” We are: the few, the proud, the chosen and most importantly, we are, the “Some.”
Sue and Deidre