Back to School

Back to School
by Julie Thompson

As a kid, I remember feeling excited, but also a little anxious to start each school year. I was excited to go shopping for new clothes and school supplies, but I was anxious about meeting my new teacher(s) and classmates.

Now that I’m a teacher, the start of a new school year brings these same emotions, but for different reasons. I still get excited shopping for school supplies – especially when the Target dollar bins are full of school stuff – but what I’m most excited about is meeting my new group of students. This is also the part that makes me feel anxious. Why?

Teaching is so much more than helping kids reach their academic goals. It’s also helping them learn how to treat others with love and respect. It’s helping them understand that they are loved and have something unique to offer the world. Teaching is a challenge and a huge responsibility, but it’s also an incredible privilege and the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.  

Most teachers will tell you they feel anxious and overwhelmed at the beginning of the school year, and that is because we care so much. We understand the importance of our job and want to do everything we can to make sure our students have an enjoyable and successful year. This is why we are willing to spend days/weeks getting our classrooms ready and hours planning lessons each week. It’s also why we continue to think about our students even after the dismissal bell rings.

Some people may be surprised to learn that I don’t have any control over who gets placed in my class, and I honestly prefer it that way. When I receive my class list, I get excited, as I believe that each student was placed in my class for a reason. God chose me to be their teacher. These are the kids that I get to invest in and love. Having that perspective has changed the way I approach each day, and it encourages me on those really challenging days.

Since I’m a public school teacher, I can’t pray with my students at school, but I can still pray for them. Once I have a class list, I start praying for them by name. Driving to work each day I typically pray, “God, help me to be the teacher my students need today.” It’s a simple prayer, but it has proven to be effective. I also rely on help and insight from my incredible co-workers. They help me be a better teacher.

Another school year is about to begin. A new group of students will walk through the door and it will no longer be my classroom, but our classroom. I’m so thankful that I was chosen to share it with them.