How lovely to have Monday off. But Tuesday’s not that far behind it. And so a new week will begin.
Am I ready for it? Am I?
Am I ready to step into that classroom and embrace the wonderful chaos of teaching again?
Am I ready to face the high energy and the nonstop chatter?
Am I ready to be diligent in teaching them discipline – yet kindhearted in teaching them love?
Am I ready to truly listen instead of hurrying past them?
Am I ready to give them what they need instead of what I know they have to have?
Am I ready to look into their eyes and say, “I’m not giving up on you, even when you give me an attitude and you’re not paying attention and I really think you don’t care?”
Because remember this, worn-out teacher –
Your love doesn’t have to be perfect – but it does have to be evident.
Maybe you don’t feel like smiling, and maybe you don’t have to smile every second.
But the first thing that child should feel from you when they see you is, “I’m so glad you’re here. I’m glad you’re alive, and that you’re in my life.”
Maybe you feel like you’re not making progress and they’re just not understanding. Maybe they’re not.
If so, slow the train down, don’t speed it up. Don’t speed it up down the track of anxiety and frustration – slow it down onto the track of breaking it down into smaller questions and helping them.
Maybe you can’t solve all the problems in their young lives.
But don’t let that make you feel defeated. You can’t solve everything, but you can strengthen a few things.
You can strengthen their confidence, strengthen their sense of belonging, strengthen their knowledge.
You can strengthen the classroom community, strengthen your sense of humor, strengthen your pauses.
You can strengthen your own spine, knowing that you have been given a task to do, and that they need you.
They probably won’t tell you, but as I discovered in letters from my students a few weeks ago, the ones you think are least paying attention are actually paying most attention to everything you do.
You matter to them. Your life is an example that they are absorbing whether you want them to or not. You are teaching them so much more than fractions and verb tenses. You are teaching them what it’s like to be a kindhearted, respectable, confident adult.
And the day will come when they’ll forget most of what happened in that particular grade – but they will remember the teacher who was faithfully investing in their lives.
They will remember your smile, your quirky sense of humor, your hugs, your laughter.
They will remember how you made them feel alive with a sense of purpose for the future.
They’ll remember that you believed in them and they will be excited to come back and tell you about their successes – because you were a part of those successes.
But – only if you stay centered in Christ. Only if you allow Him to do His work in you, despite feeling exhausted and worn out. Only if you sink yourself into your true source of strength and don’t rely on yourself alone.
Christ is the anchor for our weary souls – and when we run to Him thirsty, He gives us the water we need to continue pouring into our students. Ultimately it’s about bringing Him the glory – and when we give away His love to those in our charge, He is beautifully reflected.
Tuesday will come. And so will Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Four days – four opportunities to grow in sharing life with our students. May it not be a burden or a chore, but may it be a joy and a delight.
Because we’re pretty blessed to be a part of their lives and their journeys. It might not always be easy, but it is always, always worth it.
Let us never give up the fight.