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Many years ago, my husband and I attended our 20th high school reunion. My husband and I had all the same friends all through school because we were “boyfriend and girlfriend” during all those years. Our reunion was like any other: old friends, new kids, sharing updates, and enjoying the company of some of our most favorite people we will ever know. As the evening waned on, our closest friends, and the two of us, were sitting around a huge round table and telling stories of yesteryear.
Then someone said it, the question that led to the concept that is the driving force behind this book, “Okay, guys, who was your favorite teacher you ever had?” Real names and real stories with real feelings entertained us for the next hour. We laughed and cried while we remembered our favorite teachers of all time.
Then, as we all knew it would, came the next question. “If they were the best, then who was the worst teacher you ever had?” Real names and real stories with real feelings brought back feelings of angst for the next hour or so. Most of the stories dealt with hurt feelings and with teachers who didn’t seem to care. Maybe those teachers really did care, but they had not figured out how to show it to kids. This part of the evening bothered me because I don’t like it when people talk bad about others. It also bothered me because I knew some of those teachers on a personal level because my dad was the high school principal, and later an Associate Superintendent, and my mom was the junior high principal. But the effects were the same – what you do to kids (no matter their age) stays with them for a lifetime.
The following day, as my husband and I were driving home, I told him that the best and worst teacher stories really bothered me. He figured it was because I didn’t like hearing all the sad stories about the worst teachers. I told him, although I wasn’t too fond of the negative comments, that the part that truly disturbed me was the fact that most teachers were not mentioned at all. Seriously, after an entire school year, nine months, 36 weeks, 180 days, there are teachers who could manage to escape the best and worst lists? What happened in that classroom that none of us brought up your name?
I know that you are all powerful and can handle the things that I cannot. I ask that You wipe my human slate clean, so that Your agenda may be accomplished. Today I pray for every teacher who picks up this book; and for those who pick it up, but never read it. I pray for an attitude of kindness and peace only You can provide in the teachers’ lives. I pray that each teacher is granted just enough uninterrupted time to read just as much of this book as they need in the moment that they need it. I pray for each teacher’s health. I pray that they have an uncanny way of avoiding illness and an amazingly short recovery time when they do fall ill. I pray that each of them has just the right students in just the right timing so that Your goals are accomplished. I ask that their challenges become their greatest rewards. I ask that the teachers have a yearning to learn more about the subjects they are teaching, and that they will find just the right inservices to meet their needs. I ray that they are blessed with supreme energy each day so that the amazing lessons in their heads become amazing lessons for kids. I also pray for their families. I ask that they understand the extra hours it takes to be a Teach BIG teacher. I ask that angels surround each teacher as they travel throughout the school year – to and from school, and for any trips they may take. I pray for the Teacher’s Lounge in each of their buildings. Let it be a place of encouragement and laughter – not a place here students are complained about and negativity is bred. I pray that they find the greatness within themselves, which can only be found by believing in the greatness of You! -Amen