Back to School

image

Today was the first day of school for me, three of our grandchildren started kindergarten, and three other grandchildren had their first day in either 2nd or 4th grades.

It was a BIG day!

New beginnings are exciting and a bit scary at the same time. I have been praying for each of our grandchildren that their teachers would love them and see them as individuals.

As a teacher, I pray this for myself as well.

It is easy to notice the students that demand attention either positively or negatively. I have 30 students in my first period class and right now I am making a real effort just to learn all their names.

I started my teaching career in 1974, which I realized this week is 40 years ago! During that time I have taught in the public school, private school, Christian school, and I’ve home schooled.

Now, I have not taught continuously “lo these many years” – but I have taught over 25 years. I have learned some important lessons that help communication between parents and teachers during this time, some because of mistakes I made. I share these thoughts with the hope that each of us allows God’s grace to overshadow all we do as parents and teachers.

So – here goes:

* don’t believe everything your child says – check it out.

I had a parent come see me my second year of teaching and ask me if I had dressed up as a moose. No, I had not. In talking further, we realized that I had a dress with a white pinifore (this was 1975) and that the child was trying to tell her mother that I had dressed like Mother Goose – only the child said “moose”.

* if you have a concern, ask about it respectfully, don’t
accuse

I remember thinking “why didn’t the teacher let me know about this earlier” only to find out a note was sent home – but never given to me. Not the teacher’s fault.

* if you have a concern, write a note that says something like this – “I am concerned about Jimmy’s __________ (fear, negative attitude, apathy, lack of understanding of new material, etc) and I was wondering when I could meet to talk with you about it. Is there something I could be doing at home to address this concern?”

Showing up during class or calling during class is NOT a good idea. Teachers want and need to be teaching during class. Waiting around right after school unannounced may also be a problem because the teacher may have after school duty, a faculty meeting, or a sports event for their own child. A note expresses your willingness to respect the teacher’s schedule as well as let the teacher know you want to work together for the good of the child.

* Whenever something positive happens, especially after you have expressed concerns, share appreciation for what the teacher has done and is doing. It means so much and it also sets a good example for our children.

These verses are a good reminder for teachers, parents, and grandparents since we all share the responsibility of teaching our children.

Proverbs 15:2 (TLB)

2 A wise teacher makes learning a joy;

Proverbs 16:21 (TLB)

21 The wise man is known by his common sense, and a pleasant teacher is the best.

May God Bless this school year!

“I’m Thirsty!”

Caleb

The children were all in bed and we had just settled down to play Settlers of Catan, our current favorite board game. There was the “pitter patter” of little feet and a sleepy looking boy came up the stairs and said “I’m thirsty”.

As his mother went into the kitchen to get him a drink, Bad Nana – me, snuck him two spoonfuls of ice cream.

So what if he thinks that if he wakes up at night he will get ice cream?

I won’t be around.

After several dirty looks from my daughter, the little guy went back to bed and I am pleased to say, he stayed until morning. Which, by the way, is 6:00 am.

We all get thirsty and we are quick to satisfy that thirst for ourselves, our children and grandchildren. We are so fortunate to have a ready supply of clean water, not everyone in the world has that blessing. Water is an essential need of our physical bodies as human beings and an important source of continued health.

Our spiritual health depends on our supply of “living water.” If we don’t renew that supply daily we will dry up spiritually with souls like a desert wasteland. Jesus taught on this spiritual thirst.

John 7:37-38 (NIV)

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice,
“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

So, what is this “living water?”

John goes on to tell us in verse 39

39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

The Spirit of God is water to our souls. We need the Holy Spirit to not only quench our thirst, but to “overflow” to those around us.

I start teaching school next week. I am looking forward to meeting new students and seeing my upper level students again. A new school year brings the excitement of the “new”:
* new students
* new co-workers
* new curriculum and the resulting new lessons
* new shoes

As I encounter all the “new” I must remember that the “new” quickly wears off and the result can be the BORING same old – same old – unless I intentionally make the effort to renew.

Our children, our families, our friends, our co-workers, and our students are thirsty.

Our pastor read the above scripture yesterday and challenged us with the need to “spill over to those around us”.

To spill over, I must first be full myself. I become filled spiritually through studying God’s word, prayer, worshipping, and fellowship with other Christians. These spiritual practices fill me with living water. It is amazing how even little bits of time spent “drinking” living water can fill me to overflowing. I need to be intentional about keeping my living water level full.

We live in a dry and thirsty world.

As a young mother, a wife, a co-worker, a grandmother – whatever role or roles I find myself in – I must satisfy my spiritual thirst so that I will overflow with LIVING WATER to those around me.