Today’s educators are experiencing previously unheard-of challenges, including extensive testing, COVID repercussions on student readiness, overcrowding, and underfunding. At times it may seem difficult to get through a day, let alone stay the course as an educator. During these challenging times, everyone can use some extra support. As Christian educators, we know that God is always with us, and we experience His encouragement throughout our days, even the bad ones. But what about our colleagues? How can we share God’s hope with them, even when times are tough?
- Exchange encouraging messages.This can be done in a variety of ways. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy process—just a quick, daily message to your coworkers, reminding them that they are valued and appreciated. One easy way to do this is to take turns sharing positive and uplifting quotes or memes with one or more coworkers in a group text.
- Arrange time for fellowship. Feeling connected to fellow educators opens the door for positive, supportive discussion when difficult days arise. Organize walks at lunch or during free periods once a week to allow yourself and your colleagues to support each other and build relationships outside of the classroom. You could walk the halls for 10 minutes together or walk outside around the school if the weather permits.
- Avoid negativity. Don’t fall into the negativity trap that often sits in wait in the faculty lounge. Gossiping or complaining about coworkers or administrators creates a negative culture, infecting everyone. You can lead by example and share positive commentary that will uplift the whole team. Mention success stories from your classroom or share funny anecdotes from your day. Other teachers will follow your lead.
- Share new teaching ideas. Stay up to date on education trends and new ideas for the classroom. Resources like Christian Educators and Teach 4 the Heart offer encouragement, teaching strategies, and much more in multiple formats like blogs, podcasts, videos, articles, coursework, conferences, retreats, etc. Request time during staff meetings for teachers to share new activities and methods that colleagues might also find useful in their classrooms.
- Start a group. Take the lead and start a Bible study group or a prayer group on your campus before or after the school day. This is a great way to share the gospel message with your colleagues. In addition, spending time reading God’s Word and praying together will help you and your fellow Christian educators remember your identities in Christ.
- Tell your colleagues about Christian Educators. Invite them to join our supportive community. They do not have to wait for a crisis to reach out. Nor do they have to be members to call us at 888-798-1124. A team is standing by to assist with prayer, wise counsel, and encouragement.
As Christian educators, we know that God has called us into this profession. Sadly, many of us have lost colleagues to early retirement or profession changes because they did not feel the support they needed to handle the challenges facing today’s educators. Being mindful of and supporting the spiritual, professional, and mental health of our fellow teachers encourages all of us to stay in the classroom and continue to impact our students so we can fulfill God’s calling on our lives.
Anne Davidson Kusmer is a former high school English teacher and guidance counselor who currently tutors for college entrance exams and coaches writing. Married to Jim for 30 years, she recently became an empty nester, spending much of her time with her Australian Shepherd, LouLou.
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