For many of us, the 2015-2016 school year has begun. For me, this means I'm back as a "speech teacher" in a public elementary school, and it also means my almost 2-year old has begun pre-school at the church.
I have to admit, I was more emotional that I would have guessed about my baby girl being old enough to go to pre-school. Much of it was the thought that she is growing up. And growing up fast. But if I'm being honest, a lot of it was fear. I've been blessed to have family keep her during the day the last two years. So other than an occasional babysitter (who has always been a close friend of the family), this is the first time I've ever had to send my baby girl off to be influenced by someone who isn't family. And let me tell you: it's scary. I've often said "I never knew fear until I became a parent," and it's true! Even in a church environment, where I know the other children, know the teacher, and know the curriculum, the thought of my child being influenced by the words, attitudes, body language, actions, and beliefs of someone is definitely a scary thought. But thankfully, the Word reminds us that we don't have to live in fear. We don't have to worry. We don't have to walk this life alone. Instead, we are to cast our cares on the Lord. We are to make our worries and requests known. And then, we are to trust.
I always make a point to pray for teachers (myself included) at the beginning of school each year. But this year, as a parent, I'm committing to praying daily for my daughter's teacher and for all the other teachers around me. In doing this, I jotted down the different areas I need to pray about for myself, as well as my other SLP friends. I'm sure you'll see that most (if not all) of these areas of prayer will work for all other educational providers as well!
1. Pray for Our Protection: In today's fallen world, we hear stories far too often about violence in schools. Pray every day that teachers and other school personnel will have a hedge of protection surrounding them each and every day.
2. Pray for Our Energy: Despite everyone believing school personnel has it easy by getting off early each day and having summer's off, they don't. Teaching is hard work. Working with children and completing mounds of paperwork each week is hard work. There are days where energy is scarce. Pray the Lord will breathe new life into teachers when their energy is low.
3. Pray for Our Patience: Patience is a virtue. And when you've heard your name 42 times, gotten a new task every time you've checked your email that day, and can't get a child to make just one correct /r/ production, patience is hard to come by. Pray for patience to flow abundantly around the school, between teachers and students, teachers and teachers, and students and students!
4. Pray for Our Caseloads: Every child on an educator's caseload is important. Every. Single. One. And not every child is from the perfect background. Not every child learns easily. Not every child has food to eat. Pray for the children in the schools. Pray their needs will be both recognized and met.
5. Pray for Our Compassion: When you're exhausted, annoyed, angry, or frustrated, sometimes compassion is hard to muster up. When the child in your classroom is pushing your buttons, pray for compassion. When another teacher is hard to work with, pray for compassion. When a parent isn't doing what you want them to do, pray for compassion.
6. Pray for Our Wisdom: Everything in education is not black and white. There is not a process in place for everything. There will be things that happen that we don't always have an answer for. In these times, pray for wisdom that can only come from HIM. Pray He will lead and guide you down the correct path. Always.
7. Pray for Our Unconditional Love: Let's face it. Some people are easier to love than others. Some children are easier to love than others. In these situations, pray God will show you how He loves. Pray for God to give you the love for His children that He has for them. Pray He will show you the way.
8. Pray for Our Creativity: The amount of creativity needed each day for our jobs is astronomical. There are days where the creativity flows. There are other days when it runs dry. In the moments when you are frustrated and feel inadequate, remember God gifted you with qualities He wanted you to have. He gave you the ability. Pray He strengthens your spiritual gifts during these times.
9. Pray for Our Curriculum: In this day and time, there are somethings things we are asked to teach, or things we are told NOT to teach, that go directly against our faith. In these situations, pray He will provide a way for us to stand firm in our beliefs and share His message anyway. Pray that we will not conform to the world, but to always be a light for HIM.
10. Pray for Our Families: While educators are at school teaching, or at home planning, or at school decorating over the summer, or on the phone with parents at night, they still have spouses and children of their own. Sometimes, it is difficult to pour all of your soul into your students at school and find the energy at home to give your family your best as well. Pray for understanding from family members. But also pray that educators will understand the need for balance, and that they will strive to give their families their best, just like they do for each and every student that they will also come to love as their own.
If you need reminders like me, I made a quick downloadable FREEBIE with these 10 areas to pray for, as well as corresponding bible verses for each one. You can find it here:
Will you join me in praying daily for our school staff, ourselves included?