We are now just a few days away (again???) from the-month-that-shall-not-be-named, and what are you doing, fellow educator? Are you frantically working on syllabi? I am–but only because I’m committed to some work and other travel in the first two weeks of the month, so I have to prepare earlier than usual. If this is not the case for you I beg you to remember: PREPARATION EXPANDS TO FILL THE TIME YOU GIVE IT.
Where this is not true is in the more important preparation. Soul preparation. Remember that teaching is a spiritual job that requires spiritual preparation. Your highest goals for them are not about class content; they are about transformation. This means that you can’t just do the syllabi prep and really be ready. It means that you’ve got to set aside time for YOUR SOUL before you go into the trenches.
What does this mean? After years of facing the month, I think the best thing to do is set aside a chunk of time to get away for a pre-school retreat. If you have the resources to go somewhere nice for a weekend, then go. If you don’t, try to block of time and space in your house that you can dedicate to prayer, contemplation, and rest. Take a journal, your class roster, and inspirational or aspirational reading–something that helps you to remember why you started this crazy career, and that charges you up to get back to your students. (If you want some help with that, check out my video retreat and teaching MasterClass here!) Then write your students’ names in your journal, and pray for them one by one. Then when you get back into your classes, you can tell them honestly that you have been praying for your time together, that God would transform them through this class! If you aren’t able to say that aloud, trust me, they will know. Because it will be written all over your face: the calm that comes from the confidence that you are just setting the table. It is up to them, and God, how they will be able to feast at it.
As always, keep calm and teach on!