What I Want the Parents of My Students to Know

My refrigerator holds a list. Summer to-dos. Almost 20 items needing attention before school begins. Important things. Things like: Sort through financial records. Write my AP syllabus and book proposal. Take down Christmas lights (wish I was kidding about that one.) Clean, really clean, my house.

This year my list has six red lines. Only six crossed-off tasks. Six out of 20. I go back to work in two days. When all I want is to sit in the middle of my living room and cry. I mean really sob over my list that won’t get done. But I can’t. I have to take my daughter school shopping.

Then the school year begins. And I won’t sit again until June 2014.

So before the madness of the coming weeks ensues, there are some things I want you to know about your child’s teacher. Things which may spur you to pray for me over the coming year, or which may cause you to shake your head—I’m glad it’s her and not me. Things which sometimes need to be said.

ClassroomClassroomDSC_0286

I’m already tired. I’ve worked all summer. I’ve sat through workshops and certification classes and read journal articles on the newest teaching strategies and creative ideas. If I’m not physically working toward the next year, I’m thinking about it. All the time. I will begin the school year exhausted, leaving behind an incomplete summer task list.

Right now—I’m broke. My pockets are empty. Every spare penny has been used to purchase bulletin board materials, novels, and extra bookcases. Anything that will bring warmth and brightness to my classroom. The state or school doesn’t fund these expenses. My purse foots the bill.

The bell never ends my day. School hours don’t provide enough time to finish the job I’ve been given. Like a briefcase full of papers, I carry the cries of hurting students home. And then? When I walk in my door? I still must help my own children with homework, fix dinner, carpool to dance, finish laundry, and straighten the house.

I spend more time with your sons and daughters during the week than my own. And while I love to teach, my heart breaks a little each time I hug my baby and say, “See ya later, alligator!”

I’ve trained hard for this role—going to college and then graduate school in preparation to teach your child. You may have said, “How hard can it be? You learn. You teach. It’s as simple as that.” I want you to know it’s so much more than ABC’s and 123’s.

Because teaching is hard. Very hard. For just one lesson I can spend hours thinking through Piaget’s cognitive theory, Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, anticipatory activities, appropriate pedagogies, exit strategies, scaffolding techniques, and hierarchically-ordered questioning. Each of these theories is necessary for one effective lesson. Not so easy.

I will make mistakes. Numbers get crossed. Eyes do too. After hours of grading, sentences can begin to run together. Something right will be marked wrong. But something wrong may also be marked right. Approach me with kindness, and I will right my wrongs. Because, I promise, even if I have a typo, I know proper grammar and mechanics.

I am in desperate need of grace. If I don’t immediately respond to an email or a phone call, it may be because I want to have all the information I need to give you all the information you need. Give me time. I’m human.

I need a chance. Please. Please, please. Approach me with a problem before you approach my boss. Wouldn’t you want someone to do the same for you? It may be a simple miscommunication. A miscommunication that could wrongly put my job in jeopardy. Did I say please?

I hate standardized tests. Not in the we-should-never-measure-student-growth way. But in the there’s-so-much-more-to-life-than-choose-A-B-C-or-D way. The learning box we are stuffing children into tears at my heart a bit each day. It’s wrong. And my hands are tied.

It’s not always my fault. Even if I sang every lesson while doing cartwheels dressed like my favorite book character, some students still won’t pay attention. I can beg. I can bribe. I can cry. But some of my students are already too hardened by life—they just don’t care. Yet, society tells me I’m responsible for every student who fails. Every. Single. One. This is an anvil around my neck.

I want you to know every year is a make-or-break year for me. It could always be my last. Because this is not just a job. It’s a calling. And there are some days I wonder if I’m still called. Because some days rip me to shreds, leaving wounds that gape and scars that haunt.

I feel responsible for the next generation in mind-blowing ways. This is a heavy burden. I sense its weight each time I step into my classroom. I understand—really understand—how great the task is that lies before me. The question Am I making a difference? is a constant.

But I know my job is worth it. I know this in the way I know my students are worth every ounce of effort in my body. And when I see the light behind a teenager’s eyes? Every fiber, every muscle, every tendon tightens and then soars. The light of knowledge is mine to bestow. The role is serious. Success is always just a breath away. Sometimes I’m holding mine. When my students get it? I can smile. I can breathe.

Because really, I’m teaching them about life. Each day. A new lesson teaching rhetoric, similes, or Thoreau is really a lesson about life. How we’re connected. How we’re living. How we’re breathing.

And you must know, you absolutely must know—I pray for my students. Their hurts break my heart. Magic wands and pixie dust don’t work in this real world. I know there is only One who has the power to heal souls. So my knees are raw from the bending and stooping over the desk of your precious one.

I love your sons and daughters. And while a need for education may be the reason they walk through my door, my deepest desire is that my students know they are loved. This is my goal. My objective. My mission.

Because they will know my sweet Jesus by my love. And even though His name can’t even be a whisper on my lips within school walls, I will love your children. I will love them because He first loved me. I will be His light in their darkness. And because I love your sons and daughters, they will learn. They will learn all that matters in this life. They will learn because they are loved.

By this all people will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another

John 13:35 (HCSB).

Author’s Note:
The reaction to this blog over the last year has been overwhelming—both positive and negative. I’ve been incredibly grateful for what I have learned and for so much of the support I have received. 

I understand, for some, my heart’s cry has been misunderstood. I want to take a moment to express that in no way do I want to infer teachers are the only people with difficult jobs. In fact, all jobs are difficult in their own way and many jobs are much harder than that of a teacher. We all have aspects of our careers that are exhausting.

 This letter was is not a list of complaints, rather simple realities in the life of an educator. But, and please hear my heart, the struggles are worth the result. And the result? Reaching the life of a child? I would do it all over again. Every single time. 

If you enjoyed this blog, you may also like reading: The Reasons We TeachLessons for the First Year TeacherLessons Worth Writing Down, and A Letter to My Students.

© 2013 Heather Iseminger All Rights Reserved

The Bible

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232 Responses to What I Want the Parents of My Students to Know

  1. Jenifer says:

    Heather, such a beautiful article. Your children are blessed to have such a Godly teacher in their corner. I am praying for you as you go back to school.

  2. Tammy Wathen says:

    Beautifully said. This is a must read for teachers and parents. You have put the words down for what so many of us feel in our hearts! I would love to share this. Is that ok? Wishing you and your students a fabulous school year!

  3. Kathy says:

    Wow!!! I really understand the sacrifices you make as a teacher. May you find joy knowing you are making a difference in the lives of your students BECAUSE YOU CARE so much. I am grateful for teachers like you that love God.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have the same to do list. I feel every single word you’ve written. I wish we could send this home as our back to school letter because this is our syllabus. Simply Awesome.

    • Marie Dryden says:

      I agree wholeheartedly! I could have written it the same word for word. Thank you for expressing my heart!

      • Mega ditto! You said EVERYTHING That I feel and have always wanted to say. Parents, please support your teachers. They should know that they’ll be in twice as much trouble if you get a report on them. Teach them to show respect to you, their peers, and teachers. Set boundaries and consequences, and guide them through daily dialogue. Be CONSISTENT and proactive with meaningful rewards and set them up for success by anticipating their needs and problems. They can’t take back words and actions and need to know that teachers have feelings, too. Thank you for your straightforward words. I just retired after 26 years and LOVE teenagers and teaching. It doesn’t have to be as challenging as it’s become if families renew values and virtues and instill them into their children.

  5. Valerie says:

    This actually made me cry. You have put into words so beautifully how I feel. Thank you:-)

  6. Deanna Sessoms says:

    Oh Heather, as usual you speak to my heart. I just started a new year, new county, new grade level…driving 40 minutes to work and not being able to see my children in the morning before they go to school…and I already have to have a conference with a parent who wants to know how I am going to challenge her “brilliant” child. And I am thinking why I am doing this? This is just too hard. But I love it, I am called to it, And I can do it. Thank you for you words, I hope parents will read it!

  7. Jennifer Moses says:

    Love, love, love this. I felt like they were words straight from my teacher heart! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never met you but I saw this posted on Facebook by a teacher I had in middle school. Looking back on my education thus far, I realize how truly lucky I am to have teachers who care for me and pray for me. Your students might not realize it now, but you are truly a blessing in their lives. Being in college is so much different and just having that one figure there to help you until you truly understand a concept is one of facets of high school I miss most. Continue to serve The Lord in all that you do and He will reward you greatly. Bless you.

    • JaaN says:

      What a blessing you are to the teacher who wrote this (as well as all other teachers!)

    • Anonymous says:

      Beautiful. Thank you for understanding what your teachers were trying to show you when you were younger. God bless you!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful Heather and so true. May God be with you and your students this year.

  10. Heather,
    The reader can totally feel the sincerity of your heart as they read every word. Having been employed by the school system for quite a few years, I so appreciate your honesty and most of all the love of Christ in your life for others to see and share. May many blessings be yours.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is simply beautiful! I share these same feeling as a teacher! May God bless and keep you during this upcoming school year!

  12. Sonja says:

    I wish I could have put this into words like you. This is exactly my heart. I am retired 3 years and with the beginning of my 4th school year being retired, I feel the excitement, the stress, etc that goes with it. Even though I’m not teaching I have so many friends that still are and I will be praying for their year to go well.
    I love the part about the “list”. I always had my “list” for the Summer, and never understood how I only crossed off a couple items. I dreaded the feeling of time marching on when it was late July….
    God Bless all educators this year.

    • Anonymous says:

      I, too, am a retired h.s. English teacher who has walked this path. May God bless all teachers for their positive influence on their precious students.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful – and so true! As a teacher and I parent, I am able to see both sides and do everything I can to help my son’s teachers to have a great year. :)

  14. Liz says:

    Every child should have you as their teacher.

    Thanks for sharing your heart with all of us.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’ll be praying for you. As a retired teacher of 2 years I still understand the pressures of preparing for the start of a new year and being ready for what the year brings. There are so many joys in teaching yet we often remember the hardships. Your article helped me realize that we all have the same difficulties and that our God is the only power to depend on constantly. I hope you have a wonderful year. I pray God’s blessings on you. I use to pray every morning that God would love my students through me. I will continue this prayer for all teachers.

  16. Hey! says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. Do you mind if I share a link to this on my blog? It it just perfect!

  17. That was lovely!!! I have close friends who are teachers and I was a sub, so I understand your feelings. Your students are blessed to have you in their corner!!!

  18. Anonymous says:

    All I can say is Amen and BRAVO! I am a teacher, and every word resonates in my soul. Well said my friend.

    • Mrs. O. says:

      Thank you! As another teacher and parent I felt every word you wrote… though slight differences for my elementary students. I too am sharing! I needed to read this tonight.

  19. Thank you so much for putting words to so many thoughts! I will revisit this post often.

  20. I especially loved the last one as a teacher didn’t have to say Jesus to me, I saw it in her compassion to me and her seeing through the anger I showed her to see the pain in my life and the worthlessness I felt as a junior high student. All the while I tried to push her away, at the same time I was drawn to her. The next year, I spent many afternoons in her class after school being “counseled” by her, and she then took that freedom to share Christ with me. I accepted Christ the following summer and that was 1974. I’m starting my 28th year teaching, this being my 13th year in alternative school or “day jail for kids”. I try to be that same example to my kids, caring about them, reading their journals daily and responding to them in writing, connecting in so many ways. Thanks for your reminder and great post!

  21. Bonnie says:

    I’m a Humanist, not a Christian, but every word you wrote could have come from me. I love my students fiercely – even shaving my head for one, and telling my principal what I thought of him for another… you don’t MESS with my kids’ learning and their accomplishments, however small they might be. And I will do everything I can to help them learn, grow, and understand the world they live in. Thanks for a lovely essay.

    • Bonnie, I can’t tell you how much a I appreciate when people from different backgrounds can come together to find the common ground. Thank you for your comment. It made my heart smile. Because our students need people to fight for them, no matter their creed!

      • Bonnie says:

        Aww, thank you! I love knowing I’ve made someone smile. Smiles fuel the soul, you know? Keep teaching the little ones (and not so little ones) – it’s what we do. Best wishes for another great year!

    • Peaches says:

      Bonnie – I had the same reaction. Agreed with everything in the essay, and hoping that everyone who follows a different (but still enlightened) teacher or teaching can see “Jesus” and think “Love.” To me, same thing.

  22. Anonymous says:

    You are a wonderful teacher and have gained the respect and love of so many students and parents .I admire your determination , your honesty and fairness .God bless you as you make another student proud of their accomplishment as you did for my child .Not only did you teach her music but gave her confidence in herself .These past three years she has had with her has been the best of her middle school , under your guidance she has become a confident young lady .God Bless and keep you as you bestow your knowledge with new and older students .You have the power to do so .

  23. Deb says:

    Simply. Beautiful. Heartfelt. I teach in a Christian school (year #34 in Kindergarten!) so I do get to share my faith, but so many of your other points hit home hard. I posted this on my fb page…and became a follower of your blog. We’ve been back in school since August 1st…many prayers and blessings as you begin your new school year!

  24. Barb Kibler says:

    Ph my, I have been teaching thirty six years, about to begin my 37thand this is how I still feel! I share my faith through loving the children with Jesus. I pray that He will give me eyes to see what He sees and He has been faithful to do that even with the most difficult to love child/parent. It is my calling and I am forever grateful. My four children know this and one has even been called to teach. God has blessed me so much through this exhausting and exhilarating profession. Thank you for your beautiful post. I pray God blesses you richly this year and that He holds your family close!

  25. Wow! This is a beautiful compilation of my exact feelings…as I get ready to go back to school TOMORROW! Thank you for beautifully saying exactly what I feel!!!

  26. Lee Ann says:

    I enjoyed reading this! I go back to work tomorrow. I have felt exactly as you do. Thank you!

  27. Brittany says:

    Wow! This is amazing!

    Thank you for putting it into words what every teacher thinks!

    Prayers to you for a successful school year!

  28. Stephanie says:

    Absolutely incredible. What beautiful timing, too, as I prepare to go back to my classroom tomorrow with these exact same feelings on my heart. You have been such an encouragement to me – thank you!

  29. Peggy says:

    Amen! I’m starting my 20th year tomorrow as a high school English/speech teacher and agree with EVERYTHING you wrote!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful article. May God’s blessings be with you and your students this year–just as I pray that He is with me and my students again this year

  31. megan mt says:

    Thank you for taking the words from my thoughts. I knew I wasn’t the only crazy one. My the Lord bless your school year with plentiful pencils, sharpened minds, heartfelt answers, a supportive administration, and the patience, grace, and knowledge to remind you why you show up everyday.

  32. susangbarber says:

    I loved reading this and wholeheartedly agree. Teaching is not for the faint of heart. I have put together a 30 day prayer guide for people to pray for their teachers at the beginning of the year in hopes that more and more people will rally around us with prayers. http://susangbarber.wordpress.com/

  33. cynthia says:

    Amazing. . . if only every parent could read this!!

  34. So inspiring and encouraging to hear this from a fellow teacher. Knowing we’re not alone in our thoughts and feelings about school, students, family and faith is so uplifting. Beautifully written.

  35. Amelia says:

    Perfectly said!!! :)

  36. Anonymous says:

    Thank you. Put eloquently and with truth. I think every good teacher (including myself) experiences this and more parents, administrators and politicians need to become more aware of what being a teacher involved. Every school year my poor husband feels like he is third on the priority list because he competes with our daughter and over 200 teen agers.I had a pile rather than a list of my to-dos. It shrunk a bit from the start of the summer. I think what matters is I got some of it done and my family and I enjoined our time together. The next ten months are not usually so kind.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi. My husband feels the same way. Grading papers, calling parents, p/t conferences, lesson plans, research on the computer, purchasing project materials, writing newsletters, making up assessments, etc. takes almost all my time. I try to make my husband understand, but, it’s hard. I do feel bad for him. I’m changing roles in my school though…becoming a “gifted” teacher….no homeroom, no attendance, no recess, no bathroom, less paperwork. While I will represent the “gifted” program, which will present a different set of challenges, there will be less “other things”. So, maybe my husband can move up on the list…after I finish my last two classes for my gifted certification. Will it ever end? However, I also wish parents/guardians could read this list, too! God bless you!

  37. Julie Stone says:

    I feel like you’ve looked into my soul. You’ve put into words all the thoughts, concerns, and feelings I’ve ever had about teaching. Thank you for that. You are a kindred spirit. You are a blessing.

  38. Anonymous says:

    That was such an inspirational read, thank you so very much for sharing this. You took the words right out of heart, soul, and mind. May God’s blessings abundantly flow upon you and your students this school year

  39. Anonymous says:

    Well said! Best wishes for a wonderful school year.

  40. Laurie says:

    You have hit the nail on the head! Thank you for sharing your heart, sweet teacher friend! I hope you have a fabulous year!

  41. Pam Burke says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart in this post. I’m headed out tomorrow to start my 32nd year of teaching, and I’m having a really hard time this year getting mentally and emotionally ready to go back. Your words helped remind me of the calling I believe God has put in my heart and also convicted me to remember that the most important part of my job is showing His love to the teenagers who come through the door of my classroom each day. God bless you!

  42. Grace says:

    I loved your post. It truly spoke to my heart on many levels. Our profession is truly a calling. I am blessed to begin my 20th year as a teacher. Thank you for your hopeful and moving sentiments!

  43. Natasha says:

    This is beautiful and inspiring as I begin my first year of teaching! I will be in Elementary (4th grade) and this is a great reminder to pray for those precious kids even though I can’t tell them I am

  44. i read this because it was posted by a friend on FB. Every.Single.Word and I mean EVERY is an expression of my heart. I will be praying for you, your students, your family, and the parents of your students. :) Please pray for me too. I have 4 kids at home and teach 7th grade. :)

  45. CLeamons says:

    Thank you! You said what so many feel. It is good to know you are not alone.

  46. Bev wunderlin says:

    Absolutely beautiful AND true!! You spoke from my heart as well as yours!!

  47. shamsa b ali says:

    I m not Christian, but I love Jesus and I’m a teacher too. Every last one of your words resonated with me including the praying part. Thank you and my God bless and guide us all.

  48. Anonymous says:

    What a powerful testimony you have shared with everyone. Thank you so much, and as a parent of a child that is about to start her first year of school, it does give me a positive outlook on how incredibly busy teachers really are, and they are so very much underpaid for everything they do, for without teachers, our world would be in complete chaos.

  49. Lisa says:

    You have expressed everything that I have felt and said to myself for a while now. And as I lay here at 4:30am in Pennsylvania (for a weeklong workshop) away from my own family in Louisiana, all that you have said reminds me of my shortcomings and anxieties of the start of school and my absence from Chris and Laci for their first day of school today. I too wish that this could be my opening letter to parents. Thank you for putting so eloquently what I feel. May God continue to Bless you, your family, your students, and may this year be filled with completing unfinished tasks.

  50. Carol says:

    This was excellent, and I really enjoyed reading it.

  51. Diana C. Ramirez says:

    Your students are very lucky to be loved and tought by you. I wish all teachers felt the same. My children and grandchildren have all been blessed by teachers like you.
    My prayers go out to you as I know what you go through. I have many Educators in my family and I have been an assistant teacher for over 6 years.
    Blessings for your new year of teaching and living.

  52. Melissa King says:

    Thank you for putting into words the way I feel!

  53. Sylvia says:

    Beautifully stated…thank you for sharing your heart!

  54. Tammy Taylor says:

    I just shared this on my wall…with the comment that we must be kindred spirits…I literally connect with everything you put so eloquently! Thank you for giving me the insight that I am not the only one starting the year with incomplete summer to do lists, empty pockets, and already tired…and knowing that this profession is a calling from Him! Prayers for you, your family, and your students as we all begin another year of learning!!

  55. Anonymous says:

    Amen!!!

  56. Anonymous says:

    Awesome! I’m staff and have alot less vacation time than you do but our summers are the same!

  57. Anonymous says:

    My precious daughter I will be praying for you as you begin your week. As usual, you have blown me away with your God given ability to put the feelings of your heart into words. God bless. Love mom

  58. Anonymous says:

    Heather,
    Even though I am not a certified teacher yet, I know every word you say is true. I know it won’t be easy and I know there will be days I want to give up, but I look to you for inspiration. I will think about my mom, Aunt Pam, and you and all of my teacher friends and all of the teachers that taught me and I will know that I can do it. Thank you for writing this. Many times teachers go unappreciated, and no one realizes how difficult and sometimes heartbreaking teaching really is. I hope you have a great year! I love you,

    Tori

  59. Darlene Bahr says:

    Thank you for saying what I feel but couldn’t put into words.

  60. Beth says:

    Thank you for expressing in words what most of us feel in our hearts. I wish this would be on Yahoo news instead of the latest baby bump. God Bless your new school year and there are many who will pray for you. Enjoy the journey, that list on your fridge will get done eventually.

  61. Natasha says:

    Thank you!

  62. Anonymous says:

    I am also a teacher and also believe that the children can see the love and caring of Christ in me. I always think that I might be the only Jesus that they see and I want them to see the light in me. Wishing you a wonderful year!

  63. Nancy Claggett says:

    You have spoken from my own heart. Too often I feel isolated and wonder, “Is it just me?” You have answered that question. Thank you. I will be praying for you and ALL the teachers I know as we begin a new school year. May God bless you and those whose lives you touch.

  64. Elizabeth says:

    Your students are indeed lucky to have you. But as a former teacher turned homeschooling mother, I would have to say that the hard part is managing the classroom of children. Not the teaching. As hundereds of thousands of homeschooled children who’s parents have absolutely no teacher training can attest to, their kids are statistically doing leaps and bounds BETTER than public schooled kids who’s teachers have to go through years of ongoing training. All you really need to teach is a love of the child and a desire to impart knowledge and a love of learning along. After that it all falls into place. But the dealing with the vast variety of children from all different situations – THAT is what is hard. Prayers that you have a smooth year.

  65. C Martin says:

    What a wonderful testimony. Our daughter is beginning her second year of teaching and I can relate to most of what you talked about from just listening to her. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and faith. God bless you!!

  66. I would love to print this out and give it to my students to take home to their parents. This is beautiful, and it is the truth…this article said exactly what I feel.

  67. Anonymous says:

    Very well said! I start each day with Jesus Calling. I am humbled that God chose me to teach. Hope you have a great yer!

  68. Anonymous says:

    Even though I am retired from teaching, I appreciate this article, and can still relate, with all my heart. God bless all teachers , students and moms and dads , as they begin a new adventure in a new classroom.

  69. Anonymous says:

    Your article just described my sister to a tee. You can’t tell her not to care or not to worry because she would not be the teacher she is unless she loved all her students. Thanks.

  70. Anonymous says:

    As I also sit here three days before going back to the classroom, but not able to put into words all the myriad of feelings I’m having. Your post did it for me – perfectly! Thank you for sharing.

  71. Well-written and much needed! I am not a teacher, but my husband is a pastor so we identify with many of your points. In fact, in light of something happening at my daughters high school I just posted on Friday how we all need to be encouraging our teachers, principals, administrators and pastors! So your post was timely to what I’ve been thinking about, too. I look forward to reading more from you.

  72. Anonymous says:

    This article should be given to all parents on the first day of school. God bless.

  73. Diane says:

    Very beautiful words! Well done!
    ღ Diane
    schoolhousetreasures

  74. Andi says:

    I wish every parent could read this. And you can bet I’ll be showing it to my 5th, 8th & 10th graders as well. God has you in exactly the right place!

  75. Sue Reynolds says:

    This is so totally true. I had 4 children go through the same schools. I also worked in the school system. TEACHERS ARE AWESOME. They give more of themselves to their students then you can imagine. I have worked under the BEST teachers. I feel they get put on the back burner in too many situations. THANKS TO ALL THE TEACHERS OUT THERE IN THE WORLD.

  76. Jeannie says:

    Thank you for giving words to those of us who haven’t taken the time to write it down. You have spoken the hearts of many teachers. Thank you for allowing us to use your words to communicate with our parents.

  77. Russ Jamison says:

    Superb. Simply well done. May our Lord and Savior continue to bless you.

  78. Janet Hernandez says:

    I share your sentiments. I just retired from 27 years of teaching high school Spanish and although I will get through my list (because I don’t have to go back to the classroom), I still miss being a teacher. Oh, I really like the angel of the chairs. I wish I had had desks like those! :)

  79. Karen says:

    Wow! I have always had a great deal of respect for teachers and the difficult jobs they have. Unfortunately, I have found that the really good, “called” teachers are becoming more and more few and far between. I wish every teacher who ever teaches my children can be just like you!

  80. Relyn says:

    This has made me cry. I cry because it is so absolutely, perfectly a reflection of nearly every teacher I know and work with. It is a beautifully written reflection of my own experiences and feelings for the past thirteen years, that’s for sure. Thank you.

  81. Anonymous says:

    You have encouraged my heart, and put into words my thoughts. Now do I have the courage to link this on my website?

  82. Missy says:

    Loved reading this. SO grateful for you and all of our teachers and this was such a good reminder. I shared this on my FB page. xo

  83. CR says:

    This was amazing! Perfect to read before the kiddos come in! Thanks for sharing.

  84. Patricia says:

    That’s a fact Jack. You can take us out of the classroom, but you can’t take it out of our hearts.

  85. “It’s not always my fault. Even if I sang every lesson while doing cartwheels dressed like my favorite book character, some students still won’t pay attention. I can beg. I can bribe. I can cry. But some of my students are already too hardened by life—they just don’t care. Yet, society tells me I’m responsible for every student who fails. Every. Single. One. This is an anvil around my neck”

    So true! My wife is a teacher and I feel for her. Some kids don’t care, and it’s not y’all’s fault if they choose to not study and fail. Good luck to you this year, and God bless!

    • Mary says:

      God bless you, Mike, for being an understanding husband! My own hubby is supportive of my teaching career, and it makes such a difference in my ability to be the teacher I want to be!

  86. Anonymous says:

    Thank you.

  87. HistoryChick says:

    Thank you for so beautifully expressing what is on the heart of so many educators. I especially appreciate that you reflect that for secondary, we may have over 100 students in a day and only 45 minutes to connect with them. People often feel that we are less invested in our students than elementary teachers are, but in reality we are just invested differently, and in some ways we are more stretched.
    My husband has a challenging schedule, and I am Mom, then teacher, then immediately back to Mom until bedtime. Then, and only then, am I able to work on school work. Parents would be shocked if they knew how many days my travel mug is filled with Dr. Pepper or flavored coffee because I only got 2-3 hours of sleep so that I could be prepared for a new topic for class, or have papers graded for immediate feedback, or could work out the kinks in something new I want to try that will challenge the kids or help them. My To Do list never gets any shorter and every summer is the same way.
    Thank you so much for speaking what is in the hearts of so many of us!

  88. Versa Dave says:

    You are my hero.

  89. Anonymous says:

    Such beautiful words and oh so true! Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

  90. Jean says:

    How true every word you wrote is! You have spoken what so many feel! Thanks for saying it just the way it is! Prayers for you and all teachers as you start a new year. (Retired after 34 years of teaching mostly kinders.)

  91. Betsy Jacobi says:

    Dearest Kindred Spirit, Heather,
    I cried when I read this because this is me!! I teach High School, and you described my life to a tee!!! God bless you, girl, as you love and pray over the kids you touch every day!!!
    Keep looking up; that’s what its all about!!
    Betsy J.

  92. Carol Simpson says:

    As a retired teacher of special education for 31 years, I was so happy to read your beautiful email. It encouraged me to know that there are some truly godly people teaching our next generation and that I need not worry with leaving these students in your hands. Your words were my words, so thanks for speaking for each one of us who feel the same as you and who see
    the same as you. I will be honored to pray for you as well so that you are renewed each day and covered with God’s armor for strength, protection, faith, wisdom, and love as you give a piece of yourself each day!!!
    God bless, Carol S.

  93. Anonymous says:

    You will be blessed as you are blessing so many others~ so sweet and heartfelt. May I suggest Flylady.net. I know, I know another website. But, this is a wonderful site to encourage you to use 15 minutes at a time. God Bless

  94. Anonymous says:

    Thank you. That was absolutely beautiful.

  95. Brooke says:

    Simply lovely! From one teacher to another, thank you. Thank you for what you do, and thank you for speaking out what most teachers feel deep down! God bless you this year!

  96. Tonda Horne says:

    Two words….Thank You!

  97. Brandy Gratten says:

    Wow! Great work! Thank you!

  98. Rodney says:

    You go girl!

  99. Kelley Jo says:

    Heather,
    Thank you for writing what is in a lot of hearts! It fills my soul to know there are teachers that do this as do, because we are called, NOT because its easy and all the other stuff. As a “new” Mom of 2 adopted children this is my first summer and first back to school with children of my own your words give me strength! Normally I have been at school working in my room getting it and myself ready, this year I have been spending as much time as I can with my 2 treasures! I am Ali sending my oldest to kindergarten this year and have been praying for him to have a “called” teacher to love him as much as we do! Thank you for sharing and may you have an AMAZINGLY BLESSED school year!

  100. Anonymous says:

    Well said!! I think you put into words, what most of of teachers think. Keep up the good work! Blessings on your new school year!

  101. Anonymous says:

    How often we teachers don’t get home until after dark-the lesson, the students, the paperwork, the prep, the planning, the incessant writing of one form or another, keeping us from our personal life. You nailed it-it IS a calling. It IS a lifestyle. It IS physically and emotionally exhausting. And yet, I can think of very little I so enjoy doin: turning young children into self-sufficient, caring adults.

  102. Lynda says:

    Well done. Well written. I would have loved for my son to have had you for a Teacher. Be blest and know that GOD sees your heart and your work. HE will honor you for the work you do with HIS precious little ones.

  103. Allen Woody says:

    A plus on this and thank you for your dedication and know you have Jesus in your heart makes it all the better.

  104. frogjumper says:

    http://www.momsinprayer.org/
    We have been praying for our teachers and children for many years. I highly recommend starting a group.. One other mom and one hour a week…We have seen God move wonderfully!

  105. cynthia says:

    Although I am not a school teacher I can relate to what you have written. I am a school bus driver and see some of the same things teachers see in the classroom. Thank you for what you do..

  106. Thank you! This has been such an encouragement to me because I too feel THE EXACT SAME WAY. I took at little break from lesson planning at 9 p.m. only to come across this article. It is truly a GOD thing that I came upon it. Truly…thanks!

  107. Janet says:

    Inspiring. I am not a teacher but an active parent who has a boy who just doesn’t have it together. He is in LD and Study Skills and it finally got to the point that his teachers would email me EVERY DAY with his assignments while I kept a 2nd set of textbooks at home so he had no excuse that he, “forgot” to bring home as essential textbook. I have always appreciated the teachers doing this for my son’s academic well-being and I have told them how much I appreciate it. This article makes me feel like I need to do something more. Thank you for enlightening us non-teachers about what it is like for those in public education.

    • Mary says:

      Your involvement in your child’s special needs and education are a blessing to teachers! You help us help your child and share the responsibility. There are too many parents who do not, making it so much harder to help the child. Teachers just cannot do everything for any child and more so with LD children. Often it is not that we do not want to, but that we just don’t have enough time to do everything we want to.

  108. Donna says:

    This is awesome! Thank you for sharing!

  109. Anonymous says:

    This was fabulous-thanks for sharing!

  110. Kim says:

    Oh my goodness. I pray for my girls teachers every morning, but this gave me more onsite on how hard teachers work. God bless you !!

  111. Pug Parris says:

    In my job as a university prof, I train teachers. I can teach them facts and theories. We can do field experiences galore, but what really matters is if they feel, as you have stated so well, “called” to do this mission in life. I know that calling, and I pray my passion will influence them to seek the truth in life through teaching. Thanks for your wonderful insight! I am inspired to start year #41 in education!

  112. Sam says:

    I taught high school for 2 years and it was too much, so I switched to teaching college. I was so touched by what you honestly shared and the love of Jesus that you have for your students. How blessed the students are to have a teacher like you and may the Lord give you strength, joy, and peace in the journey ahead.

  113. E says:

    Oh I love this SO SO much! THANK YOU! I too teach high school English, 9th, 10th, and 11th grade AP Language & Composition and am a mom. This spoke to my heart SO much! I’m a new blog follower – let’s be friends! I think we would get along! :)

  114. Denise says:

    Oh, Thank you!! This made me cry as every single word rings true in my own life!! God Bless you!

  115. Ted Booker says:

    The same goes for ancillary staff, too! (I am a high school guidance counselor).

  116. tracy l courtney says:

    Your writing has touched my heart. I am completing my middle school ed degree this year. May I keep a copy of your thoughts for myself to read now and again? Thank you for loving Jesus and loving your students as he loves you.

  117. Sara says:

    Heather,
    I’m nearly at a loss for words. My heart has been so torn. I have less than one week left before the I return to work. My ‘To Do’ list is still a mile long, I’m battling an infection, struggling to pay the bills, spend time with family, and squeeze out a few more moments of summer before I return to the madness that I love. I’m a new bride, teaching for a new principal, not sure yet which grade I will end up in (last minute changes), and entering my 15th year of teaching– mostly in kindergarten. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is my calling, my passion, my love… However, things have been so hard these past few years I’ve honestly questioned my calling and considered leaving teaching. However, at the end of the day, I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. It is who I am.
    Everything I’ve struggled to convey to my new husband, my friends, family, colleagues, administrators, and acquaintances you have expressed for me so perfectly. Thank you for this. I read it. And read it. And read it again with tears in my eyes.
    My heart is that Jesus would make himself known to each of my little ones this year as I teach my heart out. And also that I would remember that ultimately, I’m a daughter of a King, that is deeply loved.
    Thank you so, so much! I shared this on my fb page and pray many others will read it as well!
    Warmly,
    Sara

  118. Anonymous says:

    Oh my goodness, How did you get in my head and voice my deepest thoughts? Thank you for taking the time to clearly let others know how we really feel.

  119. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing ! It’s great for Back to School Night, and those who say ,” Oh ! You are a teacher…

  120. Anonymous says:

    Perfect words for this moment as we look forward to beginning a new year, always striving for this to be the “best” year for each and every one of “my” kiddies!

  121. Linda says:

    OH my goodness that was beautiful!! Well done good and faithful servant!

  122. Anonymous says:

    Well done!! Said so very eloquently. Many blessings for you and your students in the new school year. God will walk with you along the way.

  123. Betsy says:

    I find this article to be very true to my heart. I’m not a teacher. I’m the child of teachers. My parents are still working very hard and tirelessly to do what they feel is needed for their students, and still be in the strict confines of the school system. Each year has seemed to get worse in those lines. Children have to know more and more each year, but end up having less time to really understand what is being taught. Because of this the relationships my parents have with students parents range widely, but their relationships with my siblings and myself have stayed strong. There have been hard times. Them being unable to attend our own school events due to lesson planning, open houses, second jobs, etc. these things happened, but each of us kids knew they loved us and they were working hard for us. Working hard for our family. They made sure to try to eat with us every night and to tuck us into bed. Even pray with us. They held us when we cried and taught us everything we needed to know to be kids. It was hard for them to, but they did it and still do.

    I’m 23 now, out of the house, married, but I know I can call them and ask them life’s hard questions even now.The burden they bear is heavy. The burden teacher’s children bear is heavy too, but they see how much being strong is needed. It may have broken my heart sometimes when my mom had to say good bye to go to work, but I put on a smile to make sure she knew that I loved her and I always will. When my dad had to go on a coaching trip for longer periods of time, I missed him so much, but I always made sure to give him a big hug when he left and when he finally came home. We found any way we could to help. We would read to my mom’s students during a free period, help them set up their classrooms, and sometimes help coach younger kids in my dad’s summer programs. I even went down this last summer to help mom decorate her room, though I live hours away. I see my mom and my dad as heroes. They do a job nobody wants, or is thought lightly of. I know your kids probably feel the same way. You working so hard has made you super mom in their eyes.They’ll never lose hope in you and they’ll never forget the lessons you taught them.

    Because to a teacher’s child you’re mom first, teacher second.

  124. Cathy says:

    You express yourself eloquently – your words touched my heart – I taught for 28 years and felt and experienced exactly what you wrote every day of all 28 years. You need to publish your work so that educators have an inspirational tool to read every day. Thank you for your dedication and most importantly for your faith in God and in students.

  125. Linda says:

    Superb.

  126. Anonymous says:

    Great article. You sound like a very special teacher who is very dedicated to her profession and even more so to her students. Keep up the good work and may God bless and keep you and your family safe.

  127. Bethany says:

    My mom taught high school theatre (and later art) and she was often at school from early morning to late at night. She got there before class started (as required) and then often after school helped students aim lights and build sets (eating a quick fast food dinner) until rehearsal started and ran till 9 or 10pm. She spent much of her personal money on teaching aids and costumes. It breaks my heart to hear people complain about teachers making too much money or only having part-time jobs because they obviously have no concept of how much teachers put into to their jobs, all for the students. And after spending so much of their own time and money they get yelled at by ungrateful parents and even administrators.

  128. dubs6 says:

    Beautifully said. My husband was a teacher that truly loved his students and showed them Jesus every day through his love and dedication. He passed away from Leukemia over 2 years ago. I just read an email he wrote to friends and family just after the diagnosis. He wrote that telling his students and their parents that he was sick and couldn’t continue teaching was one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do. You are so right in sharing that teaching is a calling and every day is a tremendous challenge but also can be the biggest reward by touching the heart of a child. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the world and reminding us all that we are all human. But thankfully God is so good. Praying for an incredible school year for all the teachers and students out there.

    • My heart hurts for your pain. Thank you for sharing part of your story with me. I’m sure your husband has made an impact for the Kingdom, far beyond his wildest imagination. May God hold you in the palm of His hand and carry your tears.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for sharing your husband’s story with us. Teaching is truly a calling, and, it sounds as if your husband answered his. God is good. There are many times that I question my going back every year (I even left for one year, but came back.) It’s just hard on your family, and your marriage. I’m struggling mentally right now, but, God is keeping me focused. Thanks again for your sharing!

  129. Laura says:

    What a beautiful article. Brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for writing!

  130. Cindy Langford says:

    I have a daughter who is exhausted before school starts as well. She loves her students and is a great teacher and coach. Before her own home is clean and ready for the new school, I promise you, her classroom is neat, clean and ready for her kids when school starts. A new classroom for a new group of kids. She is hurt when parents criticize, but continues loving their children and teaching them the skills needed to move on to the next level. I have seen her cry in exhaustion because her home is the last to get the attention it needs. I thank God she has a husband who supports her love of teaching and coaching. Teachers for the most part, are perfectionists, and when things or “lists” are not completed they feel like they fail. Please take some time to pray for peace, love and guidance for our teachers. They are the ones who care for your children and take pride in the jobs they do.

    A Proud Mother of a Fantastic Teacher

  131. Rachel says:

    Your beautiful words fueled this public middle school teacher’s heart the day before school starts! Our lives speak for Jesus, often without any words. The gospel shapes our worldview, the way we teach, the way we love those kids, how we handle tough situations. They’re watching us closely! We are quite possibly the only salt and light they’ll ever encounter. Stay faithful, girl. You are highly favored.

  132. Anonymous says:

    Thank you!

  133. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for your truthfulness– for sharing from your heart. For taking the time to write this–time I know you don’t have– to give us a glimpse into what it’s really like. As Mother Teresa said, “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.” I think you’re well on your way to truly understanding that. Be encouraged!

  134. Thank you for putting into words what I feel right now!

  135. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, you reminded me today that my son’s teacher is more than just a 7 letter word. She is human and needs my prayers more than I can imagine…definately will life her up today.

  136. Mrs. D says:

    100% TRUE……teachers aren’t in this career for the “big bucks”….it is part of our heart and soul.

  137. Julie says:

    Heather, your calling is definitely to be a teacher, and I know this upcoming year will be a difficult one as you balance being a Mom, teacher and wife. However, I know that God can give all the help and strength you’ll need to get through each day. I will pray for you that your students will see the joy you have in teaching them and that you truly care for each one. Keep on keepin’ on!!

  138. Anonymous says:

    I wish we could give this to every parent. Especially us newer teachers… WE NEED A CHANCE.

  139. Every statement–including the one about praying for my students–was right on correct.

  140. God Bless all the teachers out there working to make a difference in our children’s lives. Thank you for your service.

  141. Karrie says:

    I needed to read this! As a mother of a 10 year old starting middle school and a 5 year old starting Kindergarten, both kids at a new school and my heart aching to homeschool, I needed to read the heart of a teacher. I can only pray that my children are so blessed to have a teacher as invested as you are, and I do believe there are many like you, special gems! God bless you!

  142. Anonymous says:

    That was beautiful!! Thank you for sharing. Each point resonated in me and even more so the last one. Have a blessed school year and keep shining for Jesus!

  143. Teresa says:

    As a teacher, I love this! Everything you have expressed has been on my mind and heart lately. Thanks so much!

  144. Glee says:

    Thank you. For so beautifully expressing what is at the heart of so many teachers today!

  145. I think I “amen”ed each of your points. Your students are blessed to have you, and I hope that other teachers will catch your spirit for teaching. Continue to rely on God, and don’t let those parents get you down. The world needs more teachers like you!

  146. Sue says:

    You and I are kindred spirits! I have never run across a writing that so connects with my thoughts, feelings, and heart. I teach 4th grade and love it, but it is hard – hard to be so many things to so many. I’ve been focusing on trying to feel God’s peace more and more; He used you to help me today. Thank you. :)

  147. Lauren says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. As a fellow high school teacher, this resonated with me.and was well-timed encouragement.

  148. Anonymous says:

    I needed this! Thanks you!!!

  149. This is great! Thank you posting. The make it or break year part resonated with me. I had a bad year two years ago, so I left and started grad school last fall. When I am finished in the spring, I plan to give it another go and get back into teaching.

  150. kristin says:

    Beautifully said. I teach at a small Lutheran school and was asked to give a staff devotion tomorrow. I would certainly like to read this to my fellow teachers, with your permission.

  151. Jennine G. says:

    You’ve nailed it. This is exactly how I feel with my students and my job. I don’t think I’d trade it for anything. I go back next week, so this was good timing! God bless you, your family, you students, and this school year.

  152. beautiful post. i hope my childs teacher is half as wonderful as you seem to be. I will go forward with this school year … holding your words as a teacher close to my heart and imagining my daughter’s teacher feels the same way. Thanks for these words.

  153. What an insightful article! Thank you for sharing.

  154. Fecta says:

    I want to be friends with you. LOVED it!

  155. Linda says:

    I agree with Feeta above. I spent 40 years teaching/administering in special ed. This article touches everything that needs touching: mind, heart, and soul. Thank you. I need these reminders even in my retirement. The anvil around the neck passage is astoundingly true and beautiful. Thank you.

  156. Anonymous says:

    I am almost 75,not a parent or a teacher and I am so greatful to read all these comments and know there are still teachers like the ones I had these many years ago. God Bless you all!

  157. Anonymous says:

    I have felt this way so many times as I began a new school. Now as a retired teacher I am praying for my friends that are still in the “hunt”. May God bless you and the many other teachers as you and they make sacrifices for the education of the children of others.

  158. Anonymous says:

    I am in school to become a teacher and this brought tears to my eyes! God bless you

  159. Anonymous says:

    Thank you. Students will notice if you’re different. As a Christian student in public school, I am so thankful for godly teachers like you – I assure you, you are such an encouragement to your young Christ-following students!

  160. Skeetarie says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this. If parents read this please understand that I love having the opportunity to teach your children and feel privileged to assist those students who are returning adult learners. However, I often feel isolated and unable to express my concerns about whether I got it “right” that term, and this put it in words so I realize I’m not alone. I’m part of a larger group called to this vocation. The list will be ok, and though sometimes I worry my daughter needs me more than I can be available, (I missed the band parents’ meeting yesterday), I take heart from knowing she spends her afternoons with an equally dedicated music teacher. Today, I napped as the last several days finally caught up with me, but this post helped me not to feel guilty. I’ll work some tomorrow and it’ll be ok.

  161. Sherry says:

    Thank you for the great teachers out there!
    All give some and Some give ALL!
    I am very proud of my husband and daughter that are wonderful caring teachers!

  162. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful!!

  163. Anonymous says:

    You so beautifully said what so many of us feel. Thanks!

  164. Donna says:

    This describe most of the teachers I have worked with in the 17 years I have worked in a school district. I would also add that the office people I have worked with including myself feel the same soul deep love and concern for our students ad well!

  165. Anonymous says:

    You are precious and the kind of person I have enjoyed working with for the last 28 years. I will pray that you continue to see the light, and the Light, in your classroom. Thank you for a beautifully crafted piece.

  166. Teacher of lil' ones says:

    Heather, Thank you and God bless you for sharing this! I teach primary, kindergarten this year again, and this will mark my 16th year teaching. I love what I do with a passion that I can’t describe and feel that tug that you mentioned each day I kiss the top of my 13 year old’s head good-bye for the day and the tip of my 6 year old’s nose. Teaching is a calling like no other and I thank the Lord for trusting me with it. Each morning before my students enter the room I say a little prayer that we will have a great day together. I pray for their hurts and their triumphs and pray that they will believe in themselves. Thank you again for sharing on your blog. It made my night!

  167. Anonymous says:

    I loved the way you expressed a teacher’s love so well. God bless you, my friend.

  168. geoff says:

    I am one of those kids who thought school was a just an obstacle. It seemed like a complete waste of time. I was a senior in high school and did not graduate because I did not care. I dropped out and got my GED. Don’t get me wrong I loved seeing my friends and even loved (most) of my teachers but I could not wrap my head around how much I would need from what I learned. I have an awful time with spelling and writing (as you can probably tell) and I feel like a fool every time I do it. All I want to do now is go back and tell my teachers that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not believing in you for not listening for not doing my homework and for letting you down. I’m sorry.

    • Geoff…I want you to know, from the very depths of my soul that you were never an obstacle. And good teachers never saw you as one. When I read your comment the face of one of my students instantly came to mind. Smart. Struggled. Important. I never saw that student as someone in my way. He, too, dropped out. My heart broke. But I would never want him to come back to me and apologize. Rather I want him to say, “Look Ms. I. I did it. You said I could, and I did. I got my GED.”

      And I will look at him as smile and simply say, I knew you would…

  169. Smplelife11 says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I feel blessed that I got the chance to read it!

  170. Stacy says:

    Well said. You do make a difference. You did for me. Keep on. And thank you for what you do.

  171. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know you, but this is so well written. Everything resinates in my spirit. I teach high school French and Public Speaking in a small town and there are so many that would think this is an easy job but you put all my thoughts into one expression! I needed this, thank you so much!

  172. Beth S says:

    I wish I were there to give you a hug and personally say thanks for your dedication and sacrifice to your students. You are doing a good job both as a teacher and a mother. Take solace in that fact when you get stressed as the new academic year gets overwhelming.

  173. This is why positive school moral is so important to promote within a school building and district-to help make the list easier to accept.

  174. Tiffany says:

    This absolutely blessed me beyond belief! Well said! Took the words right out of my mouth. If we do Nothing else for our students, we Must pray for them. So have no children of my own (and I doubt this will change when I do) so each child that comes in my classroom is automatically Mine. Why? Because God in His infinite wisdom purposed for him/her to be in my classroom and for me to have an impact on them. I love what we do! And what is it that teachers do exactly? We Change The World one child at a time! Blessings to all and Prayers for a successful year!

    • Anonymous says:

      Tiffany, thank you…This is what I needed to hear tonight, for I love teaching but wonder how I can reach them all under the new pressures, guidelines and course loads. Thank you for reminding me of God’s call for me to be working with these students in this time and place!

  175. Lynn says:

    Lovely article. Many working parents can say many of the same things. It isn’t only teachers that feel this way. We should all learn to pray for one another and extend grace. Extend it to your parents as well. They spend many hours working while you spend the day with their children. They may only have one or two weeks of vacation per year while their children are home from school. Prayers and blessings as you return to school.

  176. Anonymous says:

    Wow! This was articulated so awesomely. I was so touched as a parent and an educator. I felt every ache and praise in your heart. Thank you so much for sharing.

  177. Pingback: [BLOCKED BY STBV] Five On Friday {August 16} | Magnolia Blossom's Blog

  178. I just turned this beautiful prose into my Open House Powerpoint for parents! Thank you!

  179. WWLBadger says:

    From one teacher to another: Keep the faith. I find it perversely comforting that someone else out there feels just like I do. I teach High School Special Education Science and know I’m one of the lucky ones; my school has scraped, fought and begged when necessary to keep my program alive, and yet, every year I wonder if this if the year when pay cuts, budget cuts, increased time and liability make it the year I have to walk away. Not out of choice, but out of responsibility to my family. I’ll keep you in prayer.

  180. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for all you do. I pray you stay encouraged and know that your children and students appreciate your work; if they don’t now, they will in the future.

  181. leish77 says:

    Thank you so much, I head back tomorrow and I really needed this.

  182. Anonymous says:

    Loved it! I’m impressed that you got 6 things done, I only got 2. My son started high school marching band this summer. That pretty much says it all. Your right…I’m exhausted as I sit here on a Sunday night after writing lesson plans and I wonder if I can do this much longer. Standardized testing and teacher evaluation systems are beating me up! Then I go to work and fall in love with my students everyday, and that’s that!

  183. Karla says:

    I am one of the retired teachers who is praying for you, the students, the parents, and administrators as school begins.

  184. Lori says:

    Well said! We need to be a light in the darkness…carry on sister!

  185. ANONYMOUS says:

    This was very well written. Im in high school and I wish I had a teacher like you- someone who is there to challenge but also there to guide your students! Any student would be lucky to have you! Rely on Him for your strength this school year!

    • Thank you so much! Your maturity is evident in your comment. May God walk with you each step of your day this year!!! Praying you get a mentor/teacher who loves Jesus!

  186. Cheri says:

    Sharing this with my two children who are teaching! One is a first year teacher (just finished grad school and got her first contract) the other is teaching while working on Masters in Education and earning a meager $600/month through a graduate program his school offers. I see my kids spending their extra cash for classroom all.the.time.

  187. Anonymous says:

    I spent a good half an hour debating over whether or not I should post a comment here, because I know the job of a teacher is overwhelming and undervalued. Just like everyone else here, I can see your passion and your love for your students, and having you as a teacher would be a great asset (and improvement) for so many students today. One of my former teachers shared this post, and by the time I got to the end I could almost hear her saying your same words.

    I really respect that teacher. I appreciated her clear expectations and her skill in making lesson plans that were engaging and informative. But I dreaded going to her class, and I hope that by posting this comment, maybe I’ll keep a student in your class from feeling the same way.

    There is so much truth in your last paragraph. Every day something during that class would remind me that my teacher “loved me in Christ,” regardless of whether or not anyone mentioned Jesus or love. Maybe it won’t make sense, but this “love” made me feel judged, unworthy, deviant, and confined. I didn’t feel like I could express myself in her class because I felt that her love (and maybe even my grade) depended on me being like-minded about Christ. Was this actually the case? Probably not. But the idea isn’t too far fetched, and I can guarantee it is true for some people who don’t fully understand what it means to love someone “in Christ.” Add some teenage angst to that reality, and you have a student who hates going to class with an otherwise highly effective teacher.

    Some students who weren’t Christian may have looked past it or not even noticed. But for me, it constantly made me feel guilty. My experience with Christians and Christianity was really positive until I started realizing I was gay, when it turned really sour really fast. I saw Christianity as the reason I couldn’t talk to my dad, why I had lost friends in a conservative town, and essentially the reason for everything “bad” that was going on in my life at the time. And my teacher was guilty of all that by association.

    Now that I’m a few years removed from the situation and had some more positive interactions with the Church, I realize that my feelings probably didn’t reflect the reality of the situation. My teacher probably wouldn’t have felt any differently about me if she had known I was gay. But it was still how I felt, and I imagine there must be others that feel the same way.

    The fact of the matter is that anti-gay sentiment tends to come from religion, regardless of whether that’s true of you as an individual or your local church. Its an association that is difficult to not make. Even if you fall along the “hate the sin, love the sinner” lines when it comes to being gay, take a minute to think about how that might feel. To me, it didn’t (and still doesn’t) feel good for someone to hate something that is a big part of me. It’s much easier for the person doing the hating to make those two separate entities.

    I think you’re probably a great teacher and you want all the best for your students. So I guess this comment is just to help you reach one or two more of them. I’m not asking you to hide the fact that you’re Christian, but at least for the sake of the gay kid in your class (even if you don’t know that (s)he’s gay), let your class know that your love in Christ is unconditional and show it. Maybe just by using examples that aren’t the “traditional” nuclear family (maybe just a single mom and kids, etc) or going as far as to support a Gay-Straight Alliance at your school, whatever makes the most sense for you and your students.

    Good luck this year :-)

    • I want to say thank you for your kind and thoughtful response. I do understand your concerns. I’m so very sorry for the way you were treated by those you trusted the most. I can’t imagine how painful it must have been. There are so many in this world who struggle to love their neighbor as Christ commanded. Jesus taught me many years ago, that He died for me in the same way He died for everyone. I am not more loved by God than any other person. And you’re right. I may not agree with all of the choices you make in life. But God doesn’t agree with all of mine either. The point is, no one, no, not one, person is more important to God than any other.

      I will say my prayer is that ALL of my students know my love is unconditional. I have taught many gay and lesbian students over the years, and it would devastate me if they thought Jesus could never love them because of my attitude toward them. I cannot legally openly share my faith with my students, but I can tell a student what I believe if I am specifically asked. And in that moment, I hope they would actually be able to see Christianity in a refreshing light because of the way I have accepted them. God is judge. I am not.

      I know there are many who won’t agree with me. And many who won’t agree with you. But I am going to post your comment because I believe you wrote it with such a kind spirit. I’m wiling to take the heat I may get for it. Thank you for taking a chance and posting your thoughts on a Christian blog. Thank you for your support of us as teachers. I appreciate you. You are loved.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you so much for this response to my comment and for your understanding and support. I just wanted to add that if you feel like this comment thread will cause a disruption on your blog, please feel free to remove it. That’s why I struggled so long with whether or not to post it — I didn’t want it to attract any negativity that takes away from the main message of your post, but I did want to provide my perspective.

        I’ll be going into my first year of teaching this year, and while I know we’ll be going about in different ways, I’m glad that we’ll both care for our students unconditionally.

        Thanks again.

  188. Berky says:

    Beautifully said and as a teacher I can testify that your words hit it right on the nail!
    We cry before we return but love, love what we do especially the sons and daughters !
    Have a great year colleague! In Jesus name!

  189. Beverly McNease Boudar Reed says:

    God bless the teacher who penned this beautiful “statement.” And God bless all those teachers out there who love Him and want to spread His love to their students… and to their students’ families, too! It’s a crazy world we live in where Americans have to be “undercover Christians.” Although I began my college days as an elementary education major, I don’t think I could ever be a [public school] teacher in this upside-down country we live in these days.

    Instead, I extend my love and sincere appreciation to all those who give of their lives to become that one special person in the life of one special student who otherwise might possibly “fall through the cracks”… thereby establishing a lifetime of fond memories for that young person who was blessed to have experienced true love and concern from one whose chose the sometimes thankless career of being a TEACHER.

    May the Lord bless you in an amazing way as you begin another semester in just a couple of days from now…

  190. Gina Rylander says:

    Oh my goodness; that was amazing and so well said. From a 30 year teacher, I say, “bless you.” I hope we are lucky enought to keep you in this profession!

  191. Eric says:

    I hope I can be half the teacher and Christian role model you are. I’m almost done with college and will be starting to teach in a high school soon. As a 23 year old man, I’m terrified, but I know that all of it will be worth it. Thank you for inspiring the next generation, such as myself, in this amazing profession.

  192. Diana says:

    Wonderfully written! This is so very true of the truly “called” profession. Like I told my principal, this is my mission this year—not a job. After teaching for so long in the public school, now I teach in a Christian school!! But that doesn’t mean the parents and children are all Christians, it just means we, as teachers, have an opportunity to pray more and teach Bible. I pray for all teachers as we begin our new year. My husband died last year,and he was my biggest fan and helper. I have one daughter who is a college student. The years passed too quickly! Our families are important, and we need to remember that. They must come first. But my school is also my family—they were there for me when my husband died. Thank you, teachers, for giving of yourself for your students and all of us. The Moore, OK teachers are to be remembered for putting their students’ lives before themselves. That is what it is all about. When you love your job, it is a ministry. God bless teachers everywhere—those who are called. Like all professions, we have those who aren’t in it for the right reasons. Just remember those who are!

  193. Lovely post! My daughter attends a K-12 Christian school so they do pray and are expected to do so during school hours, but I love that you apparently are in the public system and show them Christ through example. That may be the very best way to do it anyway!

    After I read your statements, I started wondering why you don’t teach at a Christian school, but then I realized maybe you are just perfect right where you are. Maybe that is where you are needed the most!

    Only 7 kids in my daughter’s class this year. I am very hopeful that they will have a fabulous year with lots of extra attention and raised expectations! And I have already emailed my kiddo’s teacher telling her I can help in any way she needs. Beyond that, I will remember your message here! Thank you for the thoughtful suggestions.

  194. Anonymous says:

    My dear grandson started preschool today. Talked with his mother tonight.. she said she cried as she left him. I want to share your writings with her, hoping she will post them on her blog. As I enter the last third of life, I’m realizing more and more the value of prayer.
    I shall share your request with prayer groups in seven states and add you to our church Wednesday night prayer list. Every night I make a gratitude list of five to ten things before I go to bed. You are number one on my list tonight. My best to you and all you reach as you teach and share your fevered spirit! As my loving grandmother used to say, ” May your tribe
    increase!” She and I were educators. A few last thoughts and then I will close. The kindness and attention of my teachers from kindergarten through graduate school helped soothe the emotional wounds from my abusive childhood. My sister was an educator and saved $500 each year using it for supplies in her fifth grade classroom. My husband speaks of his sitting at the dining room table with his sister doing homework, while their mother also was at the table finishing her kindergarten class papers and preparations while working on her master’s degree at the same time. She would be at the table long after her children had gone to bed. Your insightful and inspiring comments vividly described first hand what I have observed. My love and blessings extend to you and thousands of other teachers.

  195. cely68 says:

    Straight-from-the-heart beautiful. Thank you and have an awesomely blessed school year!

  196. Desiree says:

    You wrote this with such heartfelt meaning. The teachers I know and love, feel each of these things every day, in all areas of our lives. It continues through all hours of each day for three hundred and sixty-five days a years and it is important to remember that we teach because we LOVE it and the kids! Thank you!

  197. May you have a blessed year and I can only hope and PRAY that my children are blessed enough to have at least one teacher this year who has your heart for teaching.

  198. Powerful post, Heather. I am so thankful that you are fulfilling your calling and helping to guide and teach our community’s next generation. Know that you matter, what you’re doing matters, and though you are exhausted, Christ is your strength (2 Cor. 12:9)

  199. Kimberly says:

    Here. Here. Thank you for those beautiful words. I became a teacher when I answered an alter call at church. I wish many evangelical leaders understood how being a teacher and being a Christian are not exclusive. We can serve God and his children and the state government.

  200. Melanie says:

    This is fabulous. I am a fan!!!

  201. karen Bush says:

    Thank you so much for this article. Sometimes my heart aches so much to teach, but in this world of standardized tests and unrealistic expectations, I can’t see my way clear to even finish my education. I praise you for still trying to reach them. I know you are and when they are older, they will look back and realize you were the best thing that happened to them in their education!

  202. Leigh says:

    Since this was my first day at work, this is a terrific article that really hit home for me today!

  203. Donna Mace says:

    Thank you for writing this and for being a teacher!

  204. Teresa says:

    This is one of the most wonderful , well written pieces that I have ever read ! Thank you so much for being the kind of teacher I wish every child had .

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