As far back as I can remember, teachers have played a significant role in my life.
In second grade, Mrs. Barber invited me to an after-school poetry club, instilling a love of alliteration and rhyme in my eight-year-old soul. In fifth grade, Mrs. Ball could tell something was wrong when I normally got straight A’s but flunked a history test. She kept me in at recess and hugged me as the stress of my parent’s divorce leaked out in weighty tears.
In middle school, Mrs. Lunsford encouraged my imagination and said yes every time I proposed a new way of doing an assignment, like making up a song about the thirteen colonies. In high school, Mr. Allison modeled a true passion for literature and deep care for his students. He wrote in my yearbook that I could be the next Hemingway or Fitzgerald or whomever I wanted to be. And in graduate school, Dr. Bentz came alongside me on my journey as an aspiring author, generously sharing both knowledge and encouragement as I began my publishing journey.
Each of these teachers saw me. And I thank God for each one.
Now, as a mom of three kids, my gratitude for kind, enthusiastic, passionate, and skilled teachers has continued to grow. I’m grateful for Mrs. Halbert who saw my son’s reading challenges and provided the extra support we needed. I think of Mr. Vigil who celebrated my other son’s out-of-the-box thinking — making space for his wiggles and quirks instead of trying to stuff them in a hard chair. I’m thankful for Mrs. Cliffe who loved each student as if they were her own, and was intentional to call out the strengths in my other son — strengths I hadn’t yet seen.
And those are just a few highlights from my life in the classroom as both a student and parent. Highlights that don’t begin to acknowledge the long hours and endless creativity teachers pour out. Highlights that don’t speak to the lows of discipline issues and budget cuts, hard mornings and grueling afternoons and nights spent grading papers and planning lessons at the cost of time with their own families.
Yes, teachers are amazing, imperfect, profoundly important people — who need our prayers.
Whether you send your kids to public school or private school, or you choose to educate them at home in an organized schoolroom or messy living room, make a commitment to pray for your child’s teacher…even if that’s you! And if you don’t have kids, your prayers are still needed! Think back to the teacher who made an impact on your life, or perhaps the kind of teacher you needed but never had. Join me in praying for them:
Thank you for teachers. Thank you for the individuals who spend their lives nurturing and investing in the next generation. As teachers’ days begin again to be marked by bell schedules and lesson plans, would you mark their hearts with love, patience, and enthusiasm for their students?
Bless each teacher with the ability to see the good — the best — in each child. Enable them to encourage and equip every student to reach their full potential. Help teachers inspire a love for learning and instill confidence in each child in their capacity to grow.
Prepare each teacher for the challenges they will face. Lord, empower them to be emotional counselors, conflict diffusers, hope givers, and prayer warriors.
As teachers pour themselves out each day over essays and equations, ABCs and 123s, pour Yourself into them. Give them an abundance of hope, courage, wisdom, and joy. Gift them with parents and helpers, colleagues and administrators who champion their efforts and encourage their calling.
As teachers go back to school, Lord, grant them lavish grace for the tasks at hand. Beyond district benchmarks or state standards, help our teachers to work diligently and love their students well as unto You.
Bless this school year and bless each person who wears the beautiful and noble badge of Teacher.
“I thank my God every time I remember you.”
Philippians 1:3 (NIV)
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Share your back-to-school prayer or tell us about a teacher who impacted you! Let’s thank God together!