School started today.  I love the first day of school.  It’s a new beginning.  A chance to start over.  The first day of school is full of new tennis shoes, new backpacks, new uniforms, new school supplies, new faces.  There are few experiences you can have as an adult that compare to the first day of school.

My school’s open house was last night.  There was a steady stream of parents and children from 4:00 to 6:00.  Some looking anxious.  Some excited.  Some downright scared.  That was the parents.  Not the kids.

Because I don’t have a homeroom, I have the honor or being one of the people who stands in the lobby with The List.  The List contains every classroom, listed by the teachers’ names, in grade level order and lists every child who has enrolled in our school.  When families come into our school, they seek out a person holding The List and tell the person their child’s grade level and last name.  The the List Holder flips through the pages until the name is found and directs the family to the teacher’s room.

When I say it’s an honor, I am not being sarcastic.  I love that I have the privilege of almost instantly soothing fears.  It’s amazing what a big smile can do to take away concerns.  I love when I can say, “Oh, you’re in Mrs. London’s room!  You are SO lucky!  She’s an amazing teacher and you are going to have a great year!” and then I tell them how to get to the correct classroom and send them away with a big hug.

I love that.  I really do.

I also love that I get to see some of my 600 students from last year.  I missed them over the summer!  Teaching music and art to that many kids from kindergarten through fifth grade can be a challenge, but there are so many rewards!

I had a few quiet moments in my classroom yesterday afternoon.  I locked my door, turned out the lights, and I did what I do every year before school starts.

I prayed.

Because as hard as some people fight to keep God out of our schools, I don’t think I could survive if He were banished from my classroom.  I teach in a public school, so I don’t get to talk about God to my students.  But I can show them who God is by who I am.

I’m very specific when I pray, because one of my favorite verses is James 4:2.  In part, it says, “You do not have because you do not ask.”

So I’m asking God to bless, not just my classroom, but all classrooms.  Because we need Him.

If you’re so inclined, I’d love for you to pray with me.

The doors.  Please pray that the children who enter the doors of my classroom will feel welcome, safe, and loved.  Please pray that the darkness of negativity and self-doubt will be left outside our doors and that each child will be able to focus on learning.

The desks/tables & chairs.  Please pray that these little seats will be true centers of discovery for the children who sit at them.  Pray that the desks or tables will be arranged in a way that is beneficial to the children – so that everyone can see and hear and behave.

The walls.  Please pray that my classroom, from corner to corner, will be filled with God’s presence.  The children I teach come from many different ethnicities and beliefs, but I know that God’s love transcends all.  I want His love to wash over my classroom each day, bathing us all in His presence.

My students.  Please pray for my kids.  I would love to believe that each of them goes home to a picture-perfect family, full of love and support and a nurturing environment.  But that isn’t always the case.  There are kids with no furniture in their homes.  There is no electricity.  There are children who hungrily gulp down the free breakfast and lunch at school because there is no food in their homes.  There are children who never get hugs or kisses or kind words.  There are children who never hear English at home, and yet, they are expected to speak, understand, and use it in the classroom.  There are children whose lives I could never survive – and yet, they are expected to come to school and LEARN!  Please pray that my classroom will be a safe haven for them.

Their parents.  Please pray that the parents of these children will partner with me to educate their children.  Please pray that they will trust me and know that I love their children and want what is best for them.

Me.  Please pray that I will be sensitive to the needs of each child.  Teachers are with these children more waking hours of the day than their parents.  During the day, we are responsible for so much more than the subjects we teach.  In addition to math, reading, English, spelling, science, social studies, art, and music,  we must also teach morals, manners, self-discipline, respect, and compassion.  These we must teach through example.  Please pray that I will be mindful of the many pairs of eyes that are watching and needing me to be the best person that I can be.  Please pray that the love of God will perfume my words, my touch, and my actions.  Yes, I want them to learn to read confidently, to add and subtract with regrouping, to learn the directions on a map, to sing confidently with their peers, to express themselves artistically – but more than that, I want them to learn to be good people.  I want them to care more about others than about themselves.  I want them to grow up to be self-sufficient, hard-working, successful adults – and I want them to come to know God.  Please pray that I will take every opportunity to plant the seeds of His love.

I hope that you and your kids have a great school year!  God bless!