I’ve been in the classroom all of four weeks and I’ve been sick most of that time. It is a fact of life for teachers that they must build up an immunity to their kids. Sounds harsh, but oh so true! There’s only so much “sick time” a teacher can spend away from class so I’ve been trying to tough it out. I know all the teachers out there understand what I mean.
Teachers spend a good part of their time trying to dodge all the “kid viruses” that seem to spread like wildfire throughout a school. Hard as I try to make sure I’ve got a good supply of hand-sanitizer, tissues and the like, I cringe whenever I hear a sneeze or a well-aimed cough come in my direction. I try not to touch doorknobs or handles at school and I don’t touch hand rails on stairs anywhere. I have this technique of pulling down my sleeve to cover my hand so my skin does not touch those surfaces. My sweaters always look a little stretched in the sleeves! Still, no matter what I try, those obnoxious bugs seem to invade my defenses and I can’t escape them! Unfortunately, I am also the one out of those million who is allergic to the flu shot! It is frustrating!
So, I’ve been coughing and sniffling through the first month of school after Christmas and realizing why they call this month, “Blue January”. It’s hard to muster energy in the classroom and attend to all the things I need to accomplish when I’m feeling so run-down. Report cards are on the horizon and I’m feeling overwhelmed.
I like to pray as I drive to school in the mornings. I pray for my family, I pray journey mercies as I travel (especially that the Lord will keep animals off the country roads I travel down to school…saw a moose the other day…and thanked God He kept the animal “at bay” until I passed.) Then I pray for wisdom in the classroom. I try to pray for my students, by name, each morning. Yes, I spend a little more time praying for the more challenging ones, but I suppose that’s not too unusual.
The other morning as I drove in, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I had been up most of the night coughing and nursing this virus that had hit me hard. I was tired, a little bedraggled and wondered how I would survive the day. So I prayed.
I prayed for strength. I prayed for energy. I prayed Jesus would stand beside me in the class and “hold me up” if need be so I could get through the day. In my mind’s eye, I actually pictured Jesus standing with me at the white board with one arm draped over my shoulder so I could lean on Him for support. It was such a vivid image, I felt His Presence in the classroom all day.
“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3