Core scripture: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
Message: What do you miss most about teaching? If you are like me, it is the relationships. The certain connections I have to kids. I miss being able to call them by their nicknames. I miss teasing the kids with thick skin and encouraging the ones that need to be pushed. I miss laughing with them, counseling them, and just being a positive male role model in their lives.
Satan may have thought he took all this away from me through the Coronavirus—or excuse me, Rona, for short—but he didn’t. I have still enjoyed connecting to students through Zoom, writing them notes of encouragement, praying for them, utilizing Google Classroom, and actually making a few phone calls. You can do the same!
- Zoom: Zoom is free online facetime! Last week our team had five consecutive days where we “Zoomed” with five different classes. We connected with over half of our students who got on camera and told us all about their peaks and their pits, their highs and lows, of the week. It was shocking to see that some of the kids we thought didn’t care about school were there smiling back at us. They loved it!
- Notes: If you are like me, you probably have a little more time on your hands. I have always heard teachers say they don’t have enough time to write each student a note of encouragement, but guess what? Now you do! I have done this almost every year I have taught, and I have seen some of my goodbye notes in graduation scrapbooks years later. Focus on the positive, and tell them how they will be remembered.
- Prayer: They may not know you are doing it, but God certainly does—and your students will feel it. One day my students were on my heart, and I began praying over each class. I began taking one class per day, and I still have one to go: my beloved 7th hour students. Praise God for their spiritual gifts, and plead with God to give those kids everything they need. After Zooming all last week, I found most all kids miss their friends. Pray they can still find ways to connect with those that love them most.
- Google Classroom: This online forum sent out assignments and announcements during the school year, and it is still doing so now. I am not allowed to give extra work; however, I have still posted ideas to keep students busy, and I have also posted surveys where students can vote on the King and Queen of the Year in my classes. Some kids were so anxious to be contacted that they voted within the first minutes!
- Phone calls: Once the votes came in for the Kings and Queens of each hour, I made time to call each of the kids’ parents to let them know of the awards. Granted I had to leave a few messages on voicemail, but the parents I did talk to were much appreciative, and I actually got to talk to three students as well. Who is to say you can’t check up on a few kids, if anything to say it was a pleasure teaching them?
The year aint over yet. Your students still need you. To paraphrase our core scripture above, we can’t grow tired of making those connections when our students need them most; the Lord will reap a bountiful harvest with the seeds you leave them with down the road. Don’t give up on them now.
Challenge: Which of the above suggestions work for you? Utilize them! Show your students that you will not give up on them by trying numerous ways to connect with them. Or if you have your own unique way of connecting to students, please share your ideas by replying below.
Just for fun: Middle school teachers will appreciate this one. Trey Kennedy is well known for his impressions of middle school kids. Check out this hilarious episode of “Middle School Maddox.” If you like it, there are plenty of episodes to follow!
Prayer: Father, help me continue connecting to my students. Even though I am not allowed to see them, use me to encourage them. Amen.