About this time every year, I see prayer lists for back to school circulating the internet, and this year I wanted to create my own. This will be my fifth year teaching, and though I haven’t been at this thing nearly as long as my veteran colleagues, I know that we need prayers now more than ever in public education.
Unity — In a country divided, it’s hard to expect anything less in classrooms. Everyone is better together — teachers, students, admin, support staff, parents — and I pray that we all focus more on what brings us together than on our differences.
Acceptance — While unity is important, accepting and honoring each other’s differences is equally important. I love getting to know students and colleagues who are different from me and being an ally to them rather than an adversary, despite my own personal opinions and beliefs. God made us all exactly who we are, and He meets us where we’re at. I pray that I am able to do the same with every person I meet.
Peace — Though I love the first day of school jitters that feel so much like Christmas morning, back to school anxiety is hard to deal with. Personally, I worry about difficult parent interactions on back to school night, making a bad first impression on my students, and having the right materials prepared. This year specifically, I’m worried about transitioning from a 2-minute drive to work to a 29-minute drive. I pray for peace for colleagues transitioning to a new position or to a new school, and I pray for students transitioning back to in-person learning or to a new school for the first time since the pandemic.
Discernment — As a Christian teacher, sometimes it’s hard to know the right thing to do. While my faith is the most important thing in my life, as a public school teacher, I have to be mindful about living out Truth without being explicit. For my fellow teachers of faith and myself, I pray that we are both courageous and tactful while navigating all situations at work.
Protection — A colleague at my school leads a weekly prayer meeting at 7:02, and he always prays for God’s protection over our building. With so many threats in our world today, including the COVID-19 pandemic, I pray that God continues to walk with school communities through that and keep us all out of harm’s way.
Relationships — This is why I love my job. I pray that God blesses me in my previously established relationships with former students and colleagues, and I pray that God guides me to new relationships with my students. I pray that we grow to mutually appreciate and respect each other. I pray for opportunities to share my love for Jesus with everyone I meet.
Work Ethic — While grades are important, I pray that the students coming into my class, and their parents, value hard work and honesty over the letter or the percentage they see in the grade book. I also pray that God gives me grace when I feel like I am working harder than my students.
Rest — During the start of the pandemic, God taught me (and probably you too) the value of rest. I pray that we all remember that and give each other permission to take a day off.
Discipline — While rest is important, laziness is toxic. I pray that students maintain and thrive in a schedule, and I pray that parents and teachers can work together in encouraging that schedule. For myself personally, I pray I make at least one blog post a week, and I pray that I continue to wake up and spend time in God’s Word. I also pray all teachers, especially me, maintain separation and balance in their professional and personal life in order to be the best version of themselves.