“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
Today, many classrooms for young students have been transformed into learning centers for the Inauguration Day of our 46th President, Joe Biden. Red, white and blue streamers and paper flags are being made for art. There is singing and dancing to patriotic songs and children pretending to be president in the home living/dramatic play center. They are recognizing presidents’ heads in math class on coins and bills. All of this prepares young students to understand as they can what is happening on Inauguration Day as they view the ceremony on television. We know, as a nation, our president will need many prayers to preside over our country.
Here we are at mid-year, and each day as teachers of young students – like opening a tray of watercolors, markers or crayons – we are pleasantly surprised and fascinated by the spectrum of young students God sends our way.
As teachers, we perceive the promise and possibilities that God has designed on each little life in our care. Over the many years that I have taught school, sometimes a parent will come to me and ask me, “Mrs. Pinyerd, how can I pray for you as a teacher?” Prayers have truly been the very best heartfelt gift of encouragement that we teachers can receive at any time during the school year. As I reflect back on my teacher prayer journals, and as I share with fellow teachers, it is clear that prayers are truly needs that teachers desire as we teach our children, the future.
Pray for teachers’ understanding of their students. Each year as I am learning students’ names at the beginning of the year, I gently remind them that I have many names to learn while they have one teacher’s name to learn. As teachers we have to observe, discern and learn how each child learns. This takes wisdom from educational training and experience. Working on lesson plans that meet the learning needs of different children takes insight, patience and wisdom. Passion for teaching and providing creative resources to meet different learning needs takes wisdom.
Pray for order in the classroom. As a teacher, I link this in with peace in the classroom. Over the years, I can reflect back on eagerly awaiting my students’ arrival at my classroom door in the early morning. If I discerned that a child was not in a good mood because something upset them at home, then I would gently bring the student to my desk to talk to them and in my heart pray for this student. This time with this student was well spent to lay out a peaceful day because I didn’t want a “bad mood” to be contagious in the classroom and bring on a disorderly day. Yes, at times, I have had to take a whole class back through the front door, talk to them, pray and then re-enter the class for a better day for learning. Knowing that parents are praying in regard to learning processes moving smoothly gives us teachers confidence and peace in teaching our students what they need to learn. Yes, prayer works for our teachers in the classrooms.
A friend gave me a plaque that reads, “Give God your weakness and He’ll give you His strength.” This is so true in teaching. Teachers go beyond the normal work day of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We bring papers home to grade, do our lesson plans, write help notes to children and parents, prepare bulletin boards and take care of our families. My late mother was an elementary school teacher in the Opelika City Schools in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. I remember that after tucking her three children in bed, she would be at the kitchen table grading papers till late in the night. Nine months out of the year, I knew that as a child of a teacher I shared my mother with her classroom of children. I am truly touched now by the kind words of her students, some in their 70s and 80s, who remember how hard she worked and the life lessons she taught them. Yes, we teachers need prayers for strength and encouragement as we touch and change lives.
Pray for our teachers to have courage as well as protection. We teachers are going to protect our students physically, mentally and emotionally at all costs. Pray for us teachers to be protected from illness that would keep us out of the classroom, and pray for us to do all the healthy things with our students to stay well. As we know, with COVID we are asked to wash our hands, wear masks and social distance. Young children especially bond with their teachers, so it is so important for sickness not to separate teachers from their students.
Pray for encouragement for our teachers as they trust God to give them a fresh vision and purpose for their classes in this new year of 2021. We have the community of parents and teachers educating our children. Education is truly a gift we have here in our community compared to other places in the world.
And last but not least, lift up prayers of gratitude for the educators in our community who have stayed steadfast in educating our children in person or virtually through this pandemic.
We appreciate you and pray for you as you teach our children and grandchildren each and every day. Thank you for sharing knowledge and sharing your lives with our future. We never know, we may be teaching a future President of the United States!
This article is dedicated to my late husband, Carl Pinyerd, whose birthday is today, Jan. 20, the day I write this. Even though he was in the business world, he stepped out of his busy world to help high school teachers guide and lead students in Alabama State Science Fairs/International Science Fairs, which led them to scholarships for future learning.