Core scripture: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
Message: Well, it is official. The 7th Grade Blue Team from 2022-2023 has officially worked their way into my heart. Had you told me that would happen last September, I would have laughed. They were a little rough around the edges.
I immediately began comparing this group to past classes, ranking them easily in the top three as the most difficult group to teach. They lacked leadership. They had good kids, but they struggled in standing up to what was wrong. For an entire semester I focused on the naughty ones, refusing to see their beauty. Truth be told, there was beauty inside them. I just had to discover it.
The shift came in December. My team was down. We all took turns complaining about the nonsense we saw every day. Sarcasm dripped from my tongue. I had to pause and examine my heart. This was not going to be pretty.
David understood the importance of knowing his heart. In Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” When I looked inside, I didn’t like what I saw. It didn’t make me proud at all.
I went to God in prayer, asking Him what He needed me to do. The answer was simple. I had to find the good! In my talkers. In my quiet ones. In the naughty ones. In the athletes, the thespians, the musicians. In everyone! It started with making a conscious decision to praise the good I saw.
Compliments flowed from my mouth. Man, that is incredible artwork! Hey, I loved seeing you hit that three-pointer in the basketball game yesterday. You really nailed that journal entry. Incredible quiz score! It seemed like the kids that were listening started saying that they wanted a piece of encouragement as well.
I likewise found joy in reaching out to the unlovable. Hey, we missed you in class yesterday. So glad you are back! Three days in a row arriving on time; way to go! Hey, I really appreciated your participation today. You behaved so much better! Thanks for cleaning up your Cheetos mess. If you focus on those positive moments, your day becomes brighter.
With a little over a week to go, I am indeed counting down the days. Not to send them off to 8th grade but more to pour as much as I can into them before they are gone. I want this last week to be memorable. I searched up a plethora of inspirational videos and songs. I made a list of fun games. I am going to offer free advice about life, connecting themes to the novels we read, not to mention stories from my life.
Tomorrow we will be taking the kids out on the lawn to do the Outsiders Following Directions activity. I devised a crazy list of tasks that deal with the book we just finished, The Outsiders. The kids will be doing jumping jacks, clucking like chickens, performing TikTok dance moves, and laughing all the while. I will be capturing all the shenanigans on camera for their Blue Team Video. What they will not realize until the end is that the directions specifically say to NOT do any of the goofy stuff.
We will go back inside and turn the entire experience into a life lesson. There will be kids who know what they should be doing but instead just follow the crowd. They will read the directions and wonder why people are acting crazy, but like a bunch of sheep they will make fools of themselves. It is a powerful lesson in leadership that these kids desperately need to hear.
I will miss this group. They taught me as much as I taught them. And when I hopefully get invited to a few of their graduation parties down the road in five years, I will get to laugh about memories of Fart Spray, the blowup monkey, and a Pringles can being used for a water bottle. Classic craziness that only this group could devise.
Challenge: How will you make your last week of teaching memorable for the kids? What stamp do you want to put on the 2022-2023 school year? Seek the Lord’s guidance in coming up with a list of activities that will live forever in your students’ hearts.
Scripture study: Read John 4:1-30 and journal or discuss the following questions …
- How does Jesus use the setting at the well for a life lesson for the Samaritan woman?
- In verse 10 Jesus says he has living water. How does the woman respond?
- What does the woman do after she leaves Jesus?
- Who are you sharing the gospel with?
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Praise God for the excitement and emotions surrounding the last week of school.
- Pray for wisdom on what your students will be able to handle.
- Pray for your students’ transition into their next phase of life.
Suggestions: What is on your heart? Is there any topic you would appreciate a Christlike perspective about? Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will prayerfully consider your topic for my blog.
Just for fun: I dare you not to laugh at this Bored Teachers video titled “Teachers in May.”
Prayer: Lord, thank you for guiding us through this school year. Help us leave a positive imprint on our students this last week. Amen.
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