Core scripture: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16: 13-14).
Message: Let me take the first few moments here to say welcome to any newbies out there checking out this blog for the first time. If you want to get the most out of it, I highly suggest you explore the links to the right side of my page here. Like what you see? Subscribe to it. Share it. Shoot this link off to someone else who you think would benefit. I do my best to post weekly blogs to inspire whatever might be going on in a teacher’s life, and I am always open to suggestions for topics. So, if you want to hear about something specific, let me know. Contact me anytime through my e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the previous blog from last week titled “Serving With Humility” if you would like to see what our focus for the year will be.
Back to business … I find it hard to believe that the summer has come and gone. So many memories with my family. Our trip to Disney … swim lessons … seeing my son break his first bone and not miss a beat (I say first anticipating that this might not be the only bone he will break) … my 40th birthday party … spending quality time with the Lord early in the morning, waiting for the first stirring of my boys upstairs … trips to Deanna Rose Farmstead and the Arboretum … I certainly savored every second of it. And as I close out the summer with one final day, I reminisce with a smile, but that smile curls into something bigger when I think about what is soon to come.
If you’re a teacher, you have to have a little tinge of excitement right now. You have the opportunity to mold minds this year, to take kids under your wing and teach them to fly. They will soon be looking to you for guidance not just academically but emotionally as well. My advice? Make the most of this school year. Rekindle that fire that you once had when you boldly stepped into the classroom for the first time. What? It is not coming naturally for you now? Pray about it. Ask God into your heart. If there is anyone that can start a fire, it is the One who created the heavens and the earth. The One who parted the Red Sea. The One who can move mountains with the nudge of a fingertip.
But there is a problem. Though my first day of work begins on Wednesday, I don’t have the opportunity to influence young minds until the following Thursday. I will surely be chomping at the bit to get moving only to have meeting after meeting after meeting (you get the point) thrown my way. Ah, yes, professional days. Don’t you love them? Especially if you have taught more than 10 years, you pretty much know what to expect. You may have even become apathetic towards them, looking for any way to distract yourself from what is being said to things you’d rather be doing. This is where the Christian teacher needs to step up. Stare temptation in the eye, and shoot it down with that scripture above.
First and foremost, be on your guard. Stay focused. Put your smartphone away and stop texting your friend across the room to find out where you’re going to lunch later. Stop checking e-mail on your iPad. You may even be craving time to create new ideas for the school year. Don’t be doing that unless you have been given that assignment by the presenter. Have you ever been in their shoes? Ever presented before a group of teachers? I was there back in May at Summer Conference presenting to a group of 30 teachers about classroom management. As I scanned the room midway through my presentation, I caught one woman sawing logs, eyes completely shut. It honestly made me laugh inside! Keep alert out there. Get that extra cup of coffee in your system if you need to. Lean forward. Take notes. Participate! God will be proud of you.
Secondly, stand firm in the faith. Be proud to wear that tag of Christian teacher. Let others see and know you are a Christian teacher through the way you conduct yourself. You can start by staying positive and NOT saying that tagline that I hear so many say: Summer wasn’t long enough. Stop! Think about it. Name me another job that gives you two months off with your family. Are you really going to complain about not having enough time off? As I have enjoyed my summer, I can’t help but notice a few friends in my small group. Two engineers come to mind. They are overworked, underappreciated, and would crave to live my summer life, even if it were for only ten seconds. The Christian teacher embraces the new year with a positive attitude. Live out Philippians 4: 8 with bravado and gusto. With purpose!
Next, be courageous and strong. Live your life boldly for Christ. There are absolutely no rules against witnessing to colleagues. Why not find someone to share your faith with during down time? If you have the opportunity to share your testimony, share it. Does your church have any back-to-school barbecues on the calendar? Try inviting someone. Or how about this one … Find someone on your staff who seems like they might be struggling and let them know you are going to pray for them. Feeling REALLY bold? Pray for them right then and there. I have done that before with a few fellow believers outside of our prayer group meetings and found it extremely effective. If you get denied, no worries! Shake the dust off your feet and soldier on. Keep witnessing with purpose because that is what God called you to do.
Finally, do all that you do out of love. If you are witnessing out of love, you can’t go wrong-even if you end up with rejection. Reach out to others to serve them. Find new teachers in your building and connect with them. Get out of your comfort zone a bit, and find someone new to sit next to during inservice meetings. Strike up a conversation that might lead to a spiritual topic. Sometimes I think we are too content staying with those we know that we miss out on opportunities to get to know others better. Do this out of love, to show others the love God shows us. “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4: 8). If God is love, then we’re not only showing love to others. We are showing them our God!
Are you ready? I sure am. Stepping into my building on day one tomorrow is like opening day of any sporting event. Take your pick! I want to see if they can get me a smoke tunnel to run through, maybe playing an energetic theme song. If we go that far, why not get the school’s cheerleaders involved, having them cheer us on? To top it off, I’d find the most enthusiastic voice on staff and have them introduce me. Teaching 7th grade Language Arts … He’s a 13-year veteran teacher out of Olathe, Kansas … Give it up for the one, the only, CLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINT DAAANNNNNIIIIIEEEELLLLLLLSSSSS!!! Alright, maybe I have gone too far, but it would be cool, wouldn’t it? It is great to be back in the saddle again. Giddy-up, cowboy (or girl)! It is time to make some memories this year.
Challenge: Introduce yourselves to any new teacher in your building. Do your best to make them feel at home. Get to know them, and find out about their faith. Invite them to your school’s prayer group! The worst embarrassment for me would be to go through half the school year not having talked to a new teacher and find out midway through that they wished they had known about prayer group all along.
Prayer: Lord, keep me focused this week. Let me be productive in my classroom, using my time wisely for what You need me to do, not what I wish to do. Let me be a bold witness for You, singing your praises wherever I go. It is in Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.
Song to bring it home: Nothing like a little Matthew West to get your day going! Get on Youtube and find “Day One” to get you fired up for that first day.