It’s that time of year again. The store displays are filling back up with crayons and notebooks, the charities are taking donations of school supplies for needy children, and the teachers (myself included) start having those school nightmares again. You know, the ones where you dream the first day of school is here and your class is at your door and you haven’t unpacked all your stuff yet… Or the one where you dream you have to co-teach a class of 383 first grade students in a gym with an audience of veteran teachers. Oh, wait, that doesn’t happen to you? Maybe that’s just me!
The point is… A new school year is right around the corner.
We all know how to plan daily lessons, weekly activities, month-long units, and long-range plans for the year. But as I think and pray each year for my students and my impact and the year ahead of me, it always seems God gives me a spiritual long-range-plan, if you will. I dwell on it as my mind prepares for the year ahead, but it serves as a reminder of my true purpose and my true strength in those moments when it seems like my efforts are falling flat.
A couple years ago my inspiration came in the form of a quote from a song:
"Boys will become Kings, girls will be Queens,
Last year, my motivation came through another song called “Love Take Me Over” by Steven Curtis Chapman:
“Love, fill up all of my space and Love, stand right here in my place. Love, take me over.
If you haven’t heard these catchy and poignant songs, go look them up!
This year, God has laid on my heart a scripture that completely sums up the purpose of my ministry as a teacher and hopefully yours, too:
Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble.
There is so much meat in these verses that I could ramble on about, but what stands out to me the most is the imagery of all of it!
When I feed their bellies, their imaginations, and their thirst for learning and love, my classroom becomes a lighthouse!
He promises to guide me continually and restore my strength when I am weak!
My classroom will be like a garden with blooms and buds and growth and roots in good soil!
And when I love and teach these precious souls, I am rebuilding the ruins of my city. I am rebuilding walls of strength and safety and trust and wisdom in these lives. And I am restoring homes with hope and love! What a promise!
So, I write this to encourage you with my own long-range spiritual plan for this school year, but I also would encourage you to seek your own. Seek and pray and worship and intercede for those faces you may not even know yet. Find wisdom and strength to carry you through. Maybe it’s a song, a poem, a scripture, or a sermon. But find the inspiration that God can use to tap into your soul on your weakest and most difficult days.
Readers — how do you set a long-range plan for teaching with purpose? Share your motivation for the year in the comments below!
The Snarky Schoolteacher is an education and lifestyle blog run by dedicated educational professionals. Our goal is to bring you relevant and fun educational content with a side of sass. Read more about our team here. Thanks for visiting, and we hope you will find these ideas and resources helpful in your classrooms and in your lives.