When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Now go out where it is deeper
and let down your nets
and you will catch a lot of fish!
Luke 5:4 (TLB)
It does not seem possible, but the last days of this school year are closing in on me. These days are bittersweet, filled with mixed emotions. I worry about sending my children to the next grade. Are they adequately prepared? Will the next teacher understand them and love them like I did? Will their unique talents be celebrated and their needs understood and fulfilled? There are still a lot of fish to catch. Like Simon, I will go to deeper levels and more deeply entrench myself in my calling. And to you, Lord, I offer up the remaining opportunities I have to bring a deeper level of understanding and richness to the lives of my students as they prepare for life without me as their teacher.
The Actions of Prayerful Teaching
- Engage students in the process self-reflection. No student is too young to practice self-reflection. The reflection can be in written form, picture form, individual, small group, or whole class discussions or a combination of any of these. This is a great time for parents to discuss with their child all the progress they have noted since September. Some reflection questions include: Where did I start? Where am I now? Under what conditions do I learn best? And most importantly, how did I get where I am today?
- Continue to provide opportunities for success. Nothing inspires success like success itself. Nothing motives like success. It may be more important at this time of year for students to experience success than at any other time.
- Plan a celebration for your students. A celebration does not necessarily mean pizza, soda, and a party. An awards ceremony on the last day or the next to the last day serves as a positive note on which to end the school year. This ceremony need not be for academic success. Each child can be honored for a positive personality trait, for a time of giving of self, or for an act of kindness. Prior to the ceremony, ask students to confidentially write about two or three students who should be recognized at the ceremony and for what it is they should be recognized. At this point students do not know that everyone will receive a unique and special honor.
- Write letters of advice to students who will be entering your classroom next fall. As a fun variation students can write on topics such as “How I Survived ___Grade,” “Warning: You are about to Enter Grade___” “What to Do and Not to Do in ___Grade.” You will find many valuable points to share with your new students next fall. Future students will most likely be more interested in what previous students have to say than what you have to say. The advice from previous students can also act as added reinforcement for classroom rules and procedures. As a variation, pictures can be drawn and labeled to use as an overview of upcoming studies and events with your new students in the fall. You will also be astonished at what you will learn about yourself as a person and as a teacher.
- Preview the upcoming school year. What new topics will students learn? What will they know next year at this time that they do not know now?
Challenge of the Week:
Spend a few moments in self-reflection. How you have grown since the beginning of the school year? A teacher can never stop growing and learning and perfecting the art of teaching,
God Bless and Prayerful Teaching,
Elizabeth A. Wink