Core scripture: “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)
Message: We are going to try something different today. There are so many thoughts floating around my head to tackle the first week of school that I want to share them all. Scripture to empower you. Godly advice. Meaningful quotes. Maybe even a line from a song or two. I am hoping that God connects these ideas for you and weaves them into something beautiful.
- Be positive! Cleanse complaining from your heart. Philippians 2:14 says, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Look at the bright side and be a light to others.
- Encourage others. Run along side your colleagues and praise them for their spiritual gifts. Write them a note. Pull them aside after a meeting and thank them. Publicly praise them. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
- Be respectful during faculty meetings. I really struggled with this last Friday, allowing the mid-afternoon slump to hit me. Stay alert. Take notes. Keep off your phone. Sip on your coffee or Diet Coke if you need to. Participate. If you were the one presenting, you would want others to listen to you.
- “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” (Benjamin Franklin)
- Don’t take the world so seriously. Laugh a little. Crack a joke every now and then. Let your students and colleagues see your lighter side. Laughing is healthy and it brings joy to others.
- First impressions matter. I always give my students a powerful quote on the first day of school: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. What will your first impression be?
- Reach out to new teachers in your building. Introduce yourself. Offer your help. Make them feel welcome. Share wisdom with them and be open to new ideas they bring.
- “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- “What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.” (Joseph Addison)
- Make your students feel special. Start memorizing names right off the bat. When I met my new Assistant Principal last Thursday morning, he greeted me by name, having never met me before. He had studied staff pictures diligently for over a week. With the pictures I have available in my gradebook, I can be doing the same thing with my students.
- “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” (William A. Ward)
- God put a million, million doors in the world for His love to walk through. One of those doors is you. (Jason Gray “With Every Act of Love”)
- “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)
- “The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.” (Dan Rather)
- Never underestimate the importance of team building. Allow your classes to overcome challenges together. Make them think. Help them problem solve. Push curriculum to the side in favor of building relationships to get students on your side. Then and only then will they know you care and begin to follow you.
- Set your expectations high. Students will rise to whatever bar you set for them. Make them work for it. Lovingly encourage them to be the best they can be.
- Drill your classes on your class rules and expectations. I love getting out my army hat and impersonating Captain Daniels on the second or third day of school to take my classes through a boot camp of expectations. We practice how to pass in papers, fire drill procedures, pushing in our chairs, and even how to raise your hand. The more time you spend on this, the more time you will save throughout the school year.
- When wondering whether to lean toward grace or discipline, show grace. Go that extra mile and explain why you believe in grace.
- Have a get quiet signal and use it regularly. So much time is lost transitioning from one activity to the next if you do not use this efficiently.
- Be bold in your faith. Live out the principles that Christ exemplified in the way He lived. Seek out other Christian colleagues and encourage them. Find those Christian students and let them know you are praying for them. Carry your cross. Daily. (Luke 9:23)
- “What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.” (Karl Meninger)
- “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
- Never miss an opportunity to model humility or grace.
- Reward positive behavior. Let students know when they are doing a good job. Keeping a positive perspective works better than pointing out the negative.
- “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10)
- Every kid is different. Embrace their uniqueness. Push each child to the level they need to be pushed to. Differentiate instruction to meet each child’s needs.
- “Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” (Rita Pierson)
- “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) He will indeed be looking for you if you call yourself a Christian teacher. Expect the devil to strike. Be proactive against him, and continually seek God’s truth to demolish Satan’s attacks.
- Surround yourself with colleagues that will lift you up, challenge you to be your best, and speak truth to you.
- “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
- Pray in your classroom. Continually. Every day. Pray aloud before your students arrive. Whisper quiet prayers in your head when students arrive. Pray during breaks. Continually evaluate yourself and communicate with the Lord all day long.
- Be an unashamed Christian teacher. You can live out your faith in legal ways that allow students to see where you stand. Visit https://gogateways.org/ to see what you are allowed to do.
- “You can teach a student a lesson for a day, but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” (Clay P. Bedford)
- Teach intentionally. Every day. Every minute.
There is no other profession like a teacher. We continually pour ourselves into youth, serving and training the next generation. As this year begins, know that you are valued, you are important, and you are needed to bring the changes to education. Don’t just talk about change. Be the change.
Challenge: What advice do you have for other Christian educators to tackle the new year? Reply to this blog below. Sound off on whatever God lays on your heart.
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Pray for the transition into this new school year.
- Praise God for the opportunity to influence young minds!
- Pray that you can be the best Christian teacher you can be.
Prayer Walk Video: I encourage you all to try this in your buildings this year. I shot this video before the 2019 school year to demonstrate what a prayer walk was. Check it out below!
Just for fun: Alright, so I am reading the Bible on Youversion, and I am in Deuteronomy right now. Tons of laws and regulations, right? Well, I came across Deuteronomy 19:4-5, and this is what it reads: “If someone kills another person unintentionally, without previous hostility, the slayer may flee to any of these cities to live in safety. For example, suppose someone goes into the forest with a neighbor to cut wood. And suppose one of them swings an ax to chop down a tree, and the ax head flies off the handle, killing the other person. In such cases, the slayer may flee to one of the cities of refuge to live in safety.” Question: Did this happen regularly? I mean, why would there be a law about this in the first place? Did people just go around unintentionally killing each other? Was that whole ax-throwing incident mentioned above a common occurrence? Not sure I would want to live during this era!
Prayer: Lord, please use us in mighty ways this school year. May we put the past behind us and reach toward the future, all for Your glory. Amen.