When I was in middle school, I had one particular English teacher whom I really connected with during my seventh grade year (she's one of the reasons I started this blog!). Nearly every day, I left her a note somewhere in her room, usually on her desk. Whether it was a piece of scripture, a silly quote, or a simple note that read something like, "Hey, you're the best teacher ever! -Elle," I did it in an effort to send some encouragement in her direction.
This same teacher was, and is, a mentor and friend in my life. I knew how hard she worked, and how late she stayed up. I actually don't know if she ever slept that year. But, I loved her and tried to help brighten her days.
The night before I started high school, I sent her a text, to be a "note" that I left on her phone (instead of her desk since we were no longer at the same school), with a Bible Verse that is a mutual favorite of ours, and a message that basically said I was praying for her as she stepped into her 3rd year (I had her her first year). In her true fashion, she responded with a novel explaining to me how much she knew I would love high school (she and I are twins, so of course she was right), and how I was going to do great. But, what stuck out to me was a sentence that said something like this: Someone needs you to be their spark and encouragement this year just like you were to me when I had you, and I know that God is going to use you for that.
She told me two things within that sentence. The first one being that my notes worked!! Woohoo I had been encouragement to her! And the second one was that I had a mission- someone needed me to be encouraging to them.
I clung to that so dearly, it made everything that I did in school feel semi-important. I prayed and prayed on it. I was convinced it was someone and then I no longer thought it was them.
After a lot of continuous praying- (I mean seriously, if you've taught me in the past two years, your name is written ALL OVER my prayer journal, and if you teach me these next two years, I'm sure yours will be, too), I've decided it was each of you.
My very first blog post was about teachers. Right now, it's what I want to do. It really is where my heart is at, and that sounds so strange to me, but it's so true. There is no one that I would rather be more like. Teachers are each some of the most intelligent, loving, life-saving, kind-hearted, hard-working, sweet, swwwweeeet, patient, human beings. Teachers, you display a grace, ambition, and courage that I can only wish to carry myself with someday.
So, my prayer for you all this year, whether it's year one or year 20, is that this year will be your best yet (if you're teaching me, it probably will be 😉)…that you have the perfect mix of chaos and order and that you're able to find a little sanity and encouragement in the in-between.
You are so under appreciated and overworked, and I truly do think that encouragement (from students at least) is a rarity in so many of your lives.
But, teachers, your work matters most. I know this because I am a student, and I get the honor and privilege of watching you CHANGE THE WORLD every single day. How cool is that? You get to teach, inspire, and love the future- and I don't think you ever stop learning yourself.
I know that your job is challenging, but I also have to believe that it is one of the most rewarding. You're changing lives every day, and I know this because you've changed mine. I want to teach because you all teach- and you're rockstars at it. You make learning fun.
I shared all of this to remind you that what you do matters most. The way you love, the way you teach, the way you inspire and encourage, the way you help and guide, the way you hold a students hand and walk through fire with them…It matters most in so many lives. I see your effort, but more importantly, God sees your effort (and truly, He matters most, am I right??). What you do is not in vain.
So, no matter what an angry student (that is sometimes, a lot of times, me) says, and no matter what an misunderstanding parent posts on Facebook, your work matters most- there are students who care. There are students who are grateful, who are learning more than they imagined they could, students who love you right back, and who want to be just like you.
I can't thank the Lord enough for the honor of being your student- I'm also so thankful that I am one of those students. I am thankful. I see your effort. You are very appreciated.
Hoping this will be your best year yet, teachers! Welcome Back! I'll see you in less than a week!
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters," Colossians 3:23<–