For many of us, today is the day to get our heads back in the teaching game. We have a week of Christmas vacation left, but we know that if we're smart, we'll put in some hours catching up on planning so we can hit the ground running when school resumes.
Too bad we have so many more enjoyable things to distract us! There's family time, maybe some pretty snow outside, Christmas goodies to munch on, and holiday decorations to pack away for next year (even chores like that can seem fun compared to grading papers and planning for finals!).
So how can we set our eyes on the necessary school tasks at hand?
For me, one way has been reading Dalene Vickery Parker's book, Christian Teachers in Public Schools: 13 Essentials for the Classroom. One of the "essentials" Dalene discusses is Learning to Care. True, any good teacher cares for his or her students, but Dalene's stories of real students in her life helped me get my sights back on the human faces of my job. Kids may not often open up about their personal thoughts and feelings (I teach high school, remember), but if God has put me in this job, I can rest assured that my labor to help students succeed is not in vain.
If you missed Dalene's guest blog post, be sure to read "Balance and Boundaries." Post a comment for a chance to win a copy of her book.
Another way God has been helping me to get my head back in the game (and silence the pesky quitter in me) has been through reading the gospels. Throughout his three-year ministry, how many times did Jesus face criticism? How many times did His hearers not understand His message? How many times did He feel out of place? How many times did He have to repeat Himself, oversimplify a concept, spell out something that should have been obvious?
Jesus, in His humanity, must have been frustrated every day by His interactions with even His most devoted followers. Yet in His deity, He cared, He loved, He helped, He healed, He gave. Have I done the same for even three years at my current job? Am I willing to call on the Lord's help to be His ambassador for one more semester, one more year, one career's worth of teaching in the public schools?
My prayer is that God will help me to do the job He has called me to do, having a heart to care for the people who frustrate me most, and not fainting when the going gets tough and the days are evil. I pray this for you as well this sunny December morning.