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Picture this: My desk is piled high with assessments that must be graded.  My students are in the middle of a messy, and I mean messy, science experiment. And there is a knock on my door. I open the door. There is a student I’ve been mentoring for two years in the hallway. She has tears rolling down her face, and the counselor standing behind her. It’s at this moment, I realize that she is leaving for a mental health assessment and has come to tell me goodbye. I give her a huge hug, look her in the eyes, and tell her, “It is going to be okay.  I then have to stand up straight and walk back into my hectic classroom. There’s no time to breathe, no time to think, and no time to pray.  I’m back on my A game and I have to head back into the fray.

As a former educator and high school counselor of 13 years, I loved working with my students.  But there were times that I found myself weathering storms of stress and complete exhaustion. Juggling a daily life of emotional challenges as a teacher became my norm.

There were always lessons to be planned and a growing stack of papers to grade. I often found myself wondering if I was doing my best at that moment. The sheer amount of responsibility I had teaching 150+ students daily weighed heavily on my shoulders. It was overwhelming. If you find yourself in this same place today, I just want to encourage you to take a moment and read Matthew 11:28 (NIV),

 

In times of stress, it’s easy to rely solely on strength. As a teacher, you are a goal-oriented multi-tasker.  You are a ready-for-any-situation type of person. At any given moment, you are spinning 100 plates in the air and praying that they all stay up. You are planning lessons, grading papers, and attending meetings. Oh, and did you remember to take attendance? Whether you meant to or not, you’ve thrown self-care out the window. You are emotionally, physically, and mentally. exhausted. 

It’s in moments like this when we need to remember that we have a loving God ready to share our burdens. Jesus has experienced all the same emotions and cares that we have. He turned to His Father to renew His spirit and find peace and rest. We can do the same!

Did you know that we teach this same concept to our 2nd graders? 

That’s right! In our Generous Students biblically-immersed SEL curriculum, we discuss what it looks like to give our concerns and burdens to our Heavenly Father. As a teacher, you get to share with your students what it looks like to lean into Jesus when we need support and encouragement. Check it out! 

And while you are at it, take some time today to share your burdens with Jesus. I pray that you experience the rest that comes from surrendering your cares, worries, and anxiety to Jesus’ loving warmth and care. Today and every day, as you face the challenges that educators often do, remember that God’s grace is sufficient for you. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. 

And most importantly remember, you are not “just a teacher.” You, my friend, are a vessel of God’s love, transforming the hearts and minds of your students.

 

Blessings,

Dana (Generous Classroom Team Member)

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