It’s Thanksgiving week; maybe you have the whole week off or only Thursday and Friday. Whatever you get, it’s time to give yourself a break.
You know your students well by this time of year; you know who will create mayhem if you turn your back, and you know who you can always count on to do the right thing. You’ve likely had some heartbreak already; students who clearly are at risk for any number of problems and need more than you can give. You know who needs to see the school counselor when something at home has turned upside down. You know who needs a mentor or just some task of responsibility.
Are you exhausted? It’s important to take care of yourself,above all else during these few days. If you’re having the relatives over to your house for the big dinner, enlist help for the cooking. Buy Sister Schubert’s rolls instead of making rolls. Cut down on the variety of dishes and just make a little more of the standards.
DON’T wear yourself out with stressby making the house perfect or making the fresh coconut cake your grandma used to make. Will anyone remember what they ate on Thanksgiving Day or will the memories like these last longer?
Sleep late if you can. Read a good book; play Go Fish with young children. Refresh yourself with activities that relax and help you recreate your heart of courage. If you are a shopping fiend, then you will already be planning your strategies for Black Friday. Personally, that’s my idea of torture, so you will not find me out shopping on Friday unless . . . unless I see something in a newspaper ad that I just can’t live without!
When you have a quiet moment, add to your journal of blessings; you do have one, right? This is a journal dedicated to blessings that are specifically about school. Who has lifted your spirits on a stressful day? Have you been surprised by a student’s work? Maybe you are most thankful for a mentor or teaching partner who willingly listens when you need to unload.
Have you taken time to pray for your students? I always felt like I had so much to do that praying easily slipped off my to-do list. Give your burdens and concerns to the Comforter; let Him carry the load. Some problems are just way over your head, and your constant worry will not help solve them.
Try a different perspective on your problem students. Thank God for Tommy’s tenacity instead of his stubbornness. Praise God for Tawanda’s sense of humor. Be thankful for the creative students even if they seldom get an assignment completed. There are gifts within each liability. Our greatest strength is our greatest weakness. A different perspective can help your attitude which will change the way you treat “problems”.
May your holidays be relaxing, joyful, and renewing. Read yesterday’s post for some ideas for the family to record blessings as well as ways to revive memories for the young and old.
I’m still counting you, a teacher, as a powerful gift for students who need your joy, your love, your faithfulness to give them what they need, and your dedication. God bless you and give you a Heart of Courage.