For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.
Romans 14:17-19 (NLT)
Prayer and Meditation
Everything is crashing down around me, sapping my time and energy—time and energy I would rather spend on my students. Grades. Records. Extra duties and activities. Confusing bulletins with endless “To-Do” lists. Never have I felt so overwhelmed. I will concentrate on making these closing activities a part of my prayer life, a part of living in the goodness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Everything I do will be an offering for God and His kingdom.
The Actions of Prayerful Teaching
- As difficult as it may be, and as far off as it seems, start now. If this is the first time you are facing end of the year closing procedures, ask colleagues what it all requires. Get a head start on all those reports, even if you cannot quite finish them due to missing data. You can get a lot done now. Then, during the final days of school you can be more relaxed and perhaps even find time to treat yourself to a special cup of coffee or an ice cream treat.
- Combine all of the final bulletins into one complete list with check-off boxes. Sort by due dates. Number each bulletin and include that number in your check-off boxes in case you need to go back to the original source. As soon as you complete a task, put a check in the check-off box. Offer these necessary end-of-semester acts to God that your students may be kept safe and serve Christ as they bask in the glory and freedom of summer.
- Keep rubrics, grades, and any other artifacts you may need to justify grades. If grades or grade books are kept on line, it might be a good idea to make hard copies of important documents for yourself. Secure all confidential records on site. Never take confidential records home.
- Prepare for next year. File and sort lesson plans, units, and supplemental materials into file folders or storage units. Select student work as models for next year and keep them with the unit plans. If you have not already done so, write short notes as to what went well, what did not go as planned, and what you would like to change. Write these notes or attach them to the front cover of the folder. It is easier recording your thoughts and observations now when everything is fresh in your mind. Think how wonderful it will be to get right into planning and teaching units instead of hunting around for lost paperwork. Put a smiley face or any other sticker on the folder. When you return to the folder next year consider that a thank you reminder to yourself for putting in the extra time at the end of the school year.
- Deconstruct your room. Secure or take home all personal/purchased items, especially items you cannot afford to repurchase or items that cannot be easily replaced. Put decorations and bulletin board material in boxes by themes, units, or months. Add into the box any books that go with the theme, unit, or month. You have no control over who comes into your classroom over summer. Sometimes items are moved around for cleaning purposes. Sometimes workers who have no connection with the school are hired to clean or make repairs.
- “Build each other up” (Romans 14:17-19). Write thank you notes to all colleagues who have assisted you in the past year. Consider the lunch room workers, maintenance staff, security staff, secretaries, parents, and support staff. Remember the friends, family, and teachers who shared knowledge with you, mentored you, or were always there to support you The receivers of the thank you notes will not only know you appreciated them, but will be more than willing to assist you again next year. As you write each note, offer your time and words as a prayer that the recipient may find joy in the Holy Spirit. If it is not feasible to write notes to everyone, express your appreciation in person.
Challenge of the Week:
When writing your thank you notes, write a thank you note to God for your calling as a teacher and for the opportunity to live a life of “goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17) through your work with His children.
God Bless and Prayerful Teaching,
Elizabeth A. Wink